31 Days of Women from Scripture
Lessons from Lydia
Today our lesson looks at our last woman of the Lord’s church, Lydia. Her story is told in Acts 16:11-15.
Paul is on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:36) going back through the places he visited the first time. Paul received a vision to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10) and immediately set a course to go there. One of the stops along the way was Philippi.
Philippi is leading city, so they decide to stay for “some days”. On the Sabbath they went looking for a place where people might be gathered together to pray. They found a group of women assembled on the riverside. One of the women, Lyida, was from Thyatira. She was a seller of purple and a worshiper of God.
As Paul and his company were speaking with these women, Lydia was listening (Acts 16:14). As she heard the word of God she was moved to act upon the things Paul was saying. When she and her household had been baptized, she prevailed upon the men to come to stay at her home (Acts 16:15).
Many days later, Paul and Silas had a run in with some men who were unhappy that Paul had taken away their means of income (Acts 16:16-21). This brought about Paul and Silas being put into prison. After the course of events (that included the jailer becoming a Christian – Acts 16:31-34) Paul and Silas were released. They left the prison and went to Lydia’s house. They talked to the brethren there, encouraged them, and went on their way (Acts 16:40).
It’s a simple, straight-forward story. God chose to share this woman with us. What does her story show us?
Lydia is a business woman. She is from Thyatira, but she is in Philippi which is a major city for the Roman empire. She is a seller of purple – obviously lucrative because she owns a home and maintains a household. There is no indication that she is married.
Lydia is spiritually minded. She comes from a city where idol worship is the common religion. Yet Lydia is “a worshiper of God”. She is found among other women on the Sabbath who have come to pray by the river. She shows that her heart is “good soil” (Mt. 13:8, 23) for the word that Paul shares. She responds to the gospel message like others with open hearts in the book of Acts – she believes and is baptized to wash away her sins (Acts 2:38, 41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 8:12-13, 35-39; 9:6, 18-19; 10:1-2, 34-48; 14:21; 16:31-34 etc).
Lydia is hospitable. When she has been baptized, she wants to do something for these men. She asks them to stay at her home. I can imagine she also wanted more time to spend talking with them! As with others who believed the gospel – their first inclination was to be around others (Acts 2:46-47) who had also obeyed the gospel call (Ac. 2:38-39; Phil. 3:14; Rom. 1:6-7; 1 Tim. 6:12). Like the widow described in 1 Timothy 5:10, Lydia shows hospitality to strangers, washes the saints’ feet, and assists those in distress. Lydia already exhibits that humble attitude described by Paul in Philippians 2:3-4.
As I said in the beginning, Lydia is the last woman from the church I will be covering in this series. What I hope we see from the few we have covered – Eunice & Lois, Euodia & Syntyche, Sapphira, Priscilla, and now Lydia – is that women have always been a part of the Lord’s church. It is not a fraternity. The world would have us believe that God does not appreciate women; doesn’t notice women, and pushes women aside in favor of men. These women show that concept to be a LIE and Galatians 3:28-29 to be TRUE!
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.“
Women have roles to fulfill, as do men. They may not be the same roles, but they are all of equal value to God. We cannot all be preachers and elders (Eph. 4:11-12). Not all of us are equally good at exhorting or showing mercy (Rom. 12:6-8). We are all important in the things which we do. Strive to be a worker who is commended as Priscilla, Euodia, Syntyche, Lois, and Eunice were. Avoid making the mistake of Sapphira by trying to be something that you are not and lying about it. Always be eager to learn and to make changes in your life like Lydia. Don’t forget to THANK GOD for the examples He has laid for you. These women are given in scripture to HELP you. Let them.