Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Inspirational women #6 - Lydia    (8/16/2009 )

Lydia was a widow from an industrial town called Thyatira which was famous for making a unique purple dye (probably indigo) from a certain type of crushed shell. It seems likely that her husband had been part of the small Jewish community there, and Lydia, now living in Philippi, worked as a dealer in the cloth coloured with that rich dye.

Philippi was an important Roman colony (now an archaeological site in modern Greece), when the apostle (or ‘missionary') Paul arrived with his co-workers. They were bringing the good news of Jesus to Europe for the first time.

The Bible tells us that Paul and his friends had heard there was place of prayer by the riverside, away from the noise of the city, so they went there on the Sabbath to speak about Jesus there to Jews.

Lydia was there. Although she was not a Jew, she had become a sincere believer in their God. As Paul shared the message of forgiveness of sins through the death of Jesus on the cross, the Bible says, God 'opened her heart' and Lydia wholeheartedly believed. She moved from believing in God to also accepting the truth of his Son, Jesus Christ.

There and then – with a decisiveness that probably contributed to her success as an entrepreneur - she was baptised right in the river. Her household received the good news, too, and were baptised along with her. And Lydia immediately decided to put her gifts and talents to active use in the church.

She didn't have all the theology at her fingertips, but she knew how she could help. So she got involved. Right away she offered open-house to the mission team for as long as they were in Philippi, and provided for their needs.

The mission team later moved on, to spread the word in other towns and cities. When they called at Philippi again, an enthusiastic group of believers had developed, who were meeting in her house: the church at Philippi had begun.

This small but growing group of Christians soon became a blessing to other new churches in Europe and Asia as they regularly sent financial support to the mission. Paul later wrote a letter saying how much their generous support and encouragement meant to him in his mission.

I thank my God every time I remember you...
I always pray with joy because of your partnership
in the Gospel from the first day until now.

What a great example Lydia is for us today! Every time I see some purple cloth or clothing, I think of Lydia 's challenging example to my own life as a Christian.

Why? Because as soon as she believed, she got to work for Jesus, and opened her home to God's people. She shared her faith with family and friends. She encouraged others to meet together in her house, and carried on giving generously and wholeheartedly as God blessed her financially. We would all do well to follow her example.

Pray: God, Lydia didn't do things by half measures - she was as deep and as strong as the colour of her cloth. She put her whole life where her heart was. Please help me to grow a deeper relationship with you: one I'm not afraid to acknoweldge and nurture. Let me be of service to you, as Lydia was. Amen.

Thaink about : God doesn't want fairweather believers. In fact, in the book of Revelation, in the letter to the church at Laodicea, it says: "because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am going to spit you out of my mouth." After all, if we're in love with our partner or spouse, and we love our children, we don't hide it. do we? And, ideally, those people get the best of our time, effort and attention. How much more important it is, them to respond to what God has done for us, and - like Lydia - not to be lukewarm about our relationship with him!

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