Studying Lydia, the business woman and encourager, can give us insight on how to encourage others!
There are four characteristics that are so wonderful about Lydia, that we can all model and emulate.
- A successful business woman.
- A purposeful worshiper of the Jewish God; a minority among many idols. She was not yet a disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Once she accepted Jesus as her Savior (from the testimonies of Paul) she was so excited and was baptized and went home and told everyone in her house and they were all baptized too, including servants.
- And then lastly it was the first conversion in Europe/Asia and Lydia was instrumental in developing the Church through meetings in her home, but also allowed other disciples of Christ to come and stay with her and provide all they needed.
This is the story of Lydia!
Lydia, the business woman first appears on the scene – Acts 16 :11 – 15 The Holy Bible, NIV version.
13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and begin to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15When she and the members of her household were baptized she invited us to her home. If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said,”come and stay at my house, and she persuaded us.”
Most women in that time were not educated and running businesses. Lydia was educated and well known in her home town of Thyatira, but also in Philippi, the major shipping and commerce port in the region, where she did business. She was a dyer of purple cloth which in those days was very expensive and only people with wealth bought and wore it. She was very wealthy and had two homes with servants.
She also made time to fit in studies of the Torah (old testament) and had conversations with many people. She sought more of God’s revelation and was frequently at the river where she would pray, talk and meet other people. Her heart was simply needing more and as she was praying one day, she sought God for a revelation.
One Sabbath day she was by the side of the river again praying and seeking God with other women – Paul and his disciples were there seeking a place to pray and the two groups met. God, by divine revelation had prepared Lydia’s heart for the message Paul was about to preach.
Paul preached about about Jesus Christ and Lydia accepted Him as Lord, in faith and with an open heart. There she was baptized by Paul in the familiar river and became the first follower of Jesus in Europe.
She went on to tell the incredible message to her whole household and they all accepted Jesus and were baptized. She then invited all the disciples that were with Paul that day to come and stay with her. And they did.
So, on Paul’s second missionary journey, he met Lydia, the beautiful woman with a special heart who Loved God – the one who would become the first follower of Jesus in Europe. She would start a church in her home and it would grow much larger and ultimately grew too large for her home. Thus, the word continued to spread.
She stayed in business so that she would have the money to help God’s servants in their ministry.
Oh, how her generous care of Paul and Silas, and of the many others who followed, must have cherished in their hearts the gifts Lydia was providing. Lydia was, first of all, a consecrated Christian, then a conscientious business woman who sold her purple dyes and fabric and selfishly gave to others for the glory of God.
Acts 16: 40 “…they went to Lydias’ house, where they met with other believers and encouraged them. Then they left.” The Holy Bible, NIV Version.
I can so relate to this very important lady on many levels.
She was a business woman as I have been too, experiencing a successful business career. Oh, how she must have struggled back then in a world so different, so rough, and so corrupt.
There is actually a shrine of Lydia, along with empty benches for you to stop and sit and pray it you like.
She also loved the Lord and I too love Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the revelation God provided to prepare her heart for the coming of Paul. Everything about her life prepared her for that day. I am also thankful for the availability of the Word in our day and can not imagine a time when Jesus was not part of my life.
On a lighter side, I also love purple, hence the theme color of this site!
I hope in some small way, I can be just a fraction of the encourager she was to the church and to those around her. I can relate to the hunger in her soul; to thirst after and want more of Jesus. I seem to reach a level of satisfaction, which is higher than the satisfaction I had before. Just to have it evaporate! And, I find the longings in my heart, seek even more…again, and again.