Summary: The story of Lydia, who responded to Paul’s leadership by being baptized.
Choose Faith, Not Fear
May 13, 2007
Today is Mother’s Day. It is a day that we are all familiar with because we all have had mothers at one time or another.
I have a feeling (Now I could be wrong about this. Maybe other men don’t share my perspective. But I have a feeling.) that Mother’s Day is more important to Mothers than Father’s Day is for fathers. At least that is how it is in our family. Father’s Day rolls around and I pay little attention. Father’s Day is no big deal to me. It comes and goes and I don’t much care one way or another, but woe to me or any of our children who forget mom’s special day.
There are some ways to know that you’re a mom. For example, according to one of my preaching journals, (Homiletics) you are a mom when:
• Your feet stick to the kitchen floor and you don’t care.
• You can’t find your cordless phone so you ask your husband or a friend to call you so you can follow the sound of the ringing.
• Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.
• Your favorite television show is a cartoon.
• Peanut butter and jelly is featured in at least one meal a day.
• You’re willing to kiss your child’s boo-boo no matter where it is.
• Your baby’s pacifier falls on the floor and you invoke the five second rule. As long as it is on the floor for less than five seconds, it can go back in her mouth
• Your kids make jokes about burping and other bodily noises and you think they’re funny.
• Spit is your number one cleaning agent.
• You are up until 10 or 11 o’clock each night after spending a day dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry, changing diapers, helping with homework, folding clothes, walking the dog, ironing, bathing, gardening, painting, and finger painting. You get up at 5:30 am and have no time to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom, and still gain ten pounds.
Where would we be without mothers? They teach us so many things.
• They teach us logic. “If you fall off that swing and break your4 neck, you can’t go to the store with me.”
• They teach us medicine. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”
• They teach us ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you’re cold?”
• They teach us how to meet challenges. “Where’s your brother and don’t talk to me with food in your mouth. Now answer me.”
• They teach us how to have a sense of humor. “If you cut your toes off with that lawn mower, don’t come running to me.”
The Scripture lesson for this morning is from the book of Acts, and is about a woman named Lydia. We don’t know if she was a mother or not because the text doesn’t tell us. If I had to guess, I would guess that she was. I base that view on the 15th verse of chapter 16 in which it notes that she was baptized along with everyone in her household. I am sure that it means servants, household staff, and perhaps members of her extended family. But I am also pretty sure it means her children as well. Again, that’s just a guess.
Lydia was an extraordinary woman, especially for that time in history. Lydia was a Greek name, not a Jewish one. She is named after an area which was well known for the manufacture and sale of purple cloth. Purple cloth was used for the garments of the rich and powerful and so it is safe to assume that she was in constant contact with the elite of her society. She was a socially prominent woman, probably a widow, owner of her own home, wealthy, successful.
One Sabbath day, Paul went outside the city of Philippi to a river where there was a prayer meeting going on. This leads me to believe that there was no synagogue in the city, so some folks chose to meet on the banks of a river in a more relaxed and informal setting.
It is also possible that there weren’t ten Jewish males which was the requirement for a quorum in order to have an official worship service. So Paul the rabbi could join this gathering of women, a practice that would have been impossible in other settings.
The Scripture says that Lydia was a “God-fearing woman.” Again, we’re not really sure what that means. Was she a Jew? Was she a Gentile who worshiped the God of the Jews?