And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
A few years back, my husband and I had the opportunity to experience the bioluminescent phenomena in Puerto Rico. I can try to describe this amazing glow that I saw in the water, but I would fail miserably. A scientist could try to describe what happens in technical terms, but unless you see it yourself, you don’t quite understand. I recently had some friends visit Puerto Rico and they experienced the Bioluminescent Bay and they agree with me. The wife also experienced that it the canoe trip out to the bay was marriage challenging…and I agree with her, but that is a whole different topic. Anyway in America, it is so unimaginable for us to think of what it would be like as a woman back in Bible times. We can try to imagine by the stories that we hear on the news of far away countries, but let’s face it, unless we have actually lived and worked in a different culture for a good amount of time, we can only try to imagine.
On the sabbath, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke went out of the city and found women gathering to pray. In past times in other cities, they would go to the Synagogue to find out what was going on. Apparently, there was no such place in Philippi. Some cities prohibited the building of a synagogue, some cities just allowed for a sort of amphitheater to be the meeting place for the Jews, and some just gathered at a designated place. This seems to be the simpler of all the possibilities. Notice that scripture only recorded women at this location. Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke spoke to some of the women there and started to preach. A virtuous woman named Lydia heard Paul and opened her heart and her home to the men of God. She was from Thyatira, a city in Asia Minor across the sea, and was a businesswoman who sold purple cloth. At that time, purple was the most expensive material you would possibly own. The dyeing process back then was difficult and tedious. It was the choice color for royalty or all who lived like royals. Lydia surely was a believing Jewish woman of substance.
Lydia and her household listened to Paul’s preaching and responded by obeying and getting baptized. Being a practical woman, she compelled Paul, Silas and Timothy to stay at her house and to use it for their headquarters while in Philippi. God provided for them through Lydia’s generous hospitality.
God provides in spiritual ways and in practical ways. Often, the practical reveals the condition of the heart. When we are inconvenienced to be able to minister to others or to encourage another’s ministry, we are sharing the great gifts that God has given to us. God expanded Lydia’s business so she had the means to minister in this way…To whom much is given, much is required.
How are you with your possessions? Do you use the things that God has given you to minister to others? How do you share? Are you afraid things might get old or ruined? Do you use your means to expand the gospel? God trusted Lydia with the success of her business so that she could use it to further God’s kingdom. Is God able to trust you?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
To contact Kaye Dee, leave a comment, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.