Lydia was an interesting person in the Bible. She appeared on the riverbanks near Philippi as she was praying with a group of women. Paul and his companions came to them because they had heard this was a place of prayer. Paul shared the good news of Jesus with the group. Lydia listened to hear the words of Paul. “A woman named Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul.” Acts 16:14 HCSB She readily accepted this message and she and all of her household were baptized. Lydia was a woman of means as she was a seller of purple cloth. She urged Paul and his companions to stay at her house, and she provided for them while they were ministering in that city. Acts 16:11-15 HCSB
I am impressed by Lydia’s devotion to prayer. Apparently there was no synagogue in this city at that time, since Paul usually went to the synagogue first when he arrived in a city. Not having a synagogue/church did not hinder these ladies from gathering for worship and prayer. Because they were ready and waiting in prayer for the Lord’s guidance, they were the first to hear the message from God through Paul in their city. I want to be faithful in prayer so I too can be on the “cutting edge” of what He is doing in the world.
I am also amazed by her readiness to accept the gospel. Most people have to hear the good news of Jesus many times before they are willing to believe and place their trust in Christ. Not Lydia - the first time she heard the plan of salvation, she readily agreed. She also made sure her household had the same opportunity to listen to the truth and be baptized. She wanted others to hear the Word of God. I want to have that kind of openness to the teachings of God through His Word and to be willing to share them with others.
Finally, I am moved by Lydia’s servant heart. She was a busy businesswoman with a large household. She was probably wealthy since purple cloth was expensive in those days, and only the rich could afford to buy it. Lydia used what she had to extend her kindness to those who had shared the good news with her. She invited Paul and his companions to stay with her for the duration of their ministry in Philippi. In those days, without hotelsearch.com and the abundance of lodging, this was a huge help. She used what God had blessed her with in material possessions to be a blessing to others. I can never forget that God does not bless me so that I will consume His blessings upon myself. I must remember to use what God has given me to help others. As the Lord told Abraham so many years earlier, “’…I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.’” Gen. 12:2 HCSB
Lydia serves as a great example to me to be faithful in prayer; ready to listen to the truth of God’s word and share it with others, and to be willing to share what God has given me for the good of others. What a great biblical model of Christian womanhood!