Acts 16:11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She was baptized along with other members of her household, and she asked us to be her guests. "If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my home." And she urged us until we agreed.
I want to look at the life of Lydia in our devotion today. Lydia without a doubt had to be an amazing lady especially to be a successful business woman during that time period and culture.
We are not sure if Lydia was actually her name or if she was just from Lydia. Many writers think Lydia means “The Lydian,” seeing Thyatira was a city of Lydia, and that her personal name is unknown. I just wanted to give you that little history lesson.
We do not have any information concerning her family connections. Scripture does not supply us with any information regarding Lydia’s background apart from the fact that she lived in Thyatira which was one of the Macedonian colonies. We do know the city was the melting pot of many nations, and that the chief object of worship was Apollo, who was worshiped as the sun-god under the name of Tyrinnus. There was also a strong Jewish element in the city maintaining faith in Jehovah.
She was a business woman: As I studied about Lydia I found that the water of the area was so well-adapted for dyeing, that no other place could produce the scarlet cloth as brilliantly and so permanently dyed. This unique purple dye brought the city universal renown. Lydia was a well-known seller of this product and typifies a successful business woman in a prosperous city. She undoubtedly had ability, enthusiasm, and singleness of purpose and mental insight which caused her to prosper.
She was a devout woman: We are not sure if she was of Jewish descent but we know “She worshipped God”. Often business people are so engrossed in their affairs that they have no time for religion. But Lydia, in spite of all her secular obligations, found time to worship according to the Jewish faith. Many times she made her way to the riverside to join in the prayer meeting. Now notice this, even though she was religious it is evident she had not encountered Jesus as her Savior but when Paul began to speak, her heart was quickened and she accepted the good news of Jesus being her personal Messiah. Then to prove her conversion to Christ, she was publically baptized with her household. Lydia had the honor of being Paul’s first European convert. Becoming a Christian did not make her less of a successful business woman. Now she had Christ as her Senior Partner and with Him we can imagine that trade remained good and that much of her profit was used to assist His servants in the work of the Gospel. Lydia’s transformation of life was evidenced by her eagerness to give missionaries the hospitality of her fine home. Lydia always had “open house” for the saints of God and her home became a center of Christian fellowship in Philippi with perhaps the first Christian church being formed therein. Lydia not only sold her dyes—she served her Savior. She stayed in business that she might have the money to help God’s servants in their ministry. How her generous care of Paul and Silas, and of many others, must have cheered their hearts. Lydia put Jesus first but she was still a successful business woman who continued to sell her purple dyes for the glory of God. When we reach heaven, we shall find this “seller of purple” wearing more superior garments, robes not stained even with the notable dye of Thyatira, but “washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.”
The main truth I need you to see in her conversion is that she was already a worshipper and prayer but she still did not know Jesus as her Savior. There are so many in this region who are just like Lydia and they need you, they need me to tell them about Jesus, about the cross, about His resurrection and what He has done for us.
Prayer Points: Father Give me the boldness and wisdom I need to be the Christian you desire who consistently shares their faith with the Lydias of this world.