Summary: Lydia was a successful business woman and yet had time to seek and worship God. her conversion to Christianity singled her out among many other women as she became the first convert in Europe. It was through her God opened the door for the ministry in the
LYDIA: THE BUSINESS WOMAN
Lydia was a successful businesswoman. A dealer of purple cloth, she mingled with the wealthy of her day. Her trade was in demand by the rich and influential in the city. She can be likened to the virtuous woman in Prov. 31, who was an entrepreneur (v.24) and who was confident in her area of business (v.18). Historic findings indicate that the sale of purple cloth was of great economic importance in that day. Her choice of profession yielded her great gain and fame. Yet her conversion to Christianity singled her out among many other women as she became the first convert in Europe. It was through her God opened the door for the ministry in the region.
WHERE WAS SHE FROM
1. She was from Thyatira, a Roman colony known for its manufacturing and commercial center.
2. According to the Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, those persons who were involved in trade like Lydia were exposed to all kinds of pagan worship and sexual immorality.
QAULITIES OF LYDIA
1. Lydia in Philippi:
We first learn of Lydia in this Roman Colony. In this colony there was a Prohibition against bringing an unrecognized religion into the city, hence Paul and his team sought a place outside to pray. Lydia was one of women gathered there.
2. Lydia the Nonconformist:
Lydia was interested in becoming a revolutionary for Christ and sought to know God and thus did not conform to the dictates of the city as it relates to religion. Stepping outside the city gate to be at the river to pray; meant rejection of societal norms and acceptance for the things of God. Like the three Hebrew boys (Dan. 3) to Daniel’s refusal to stop praying in spite of the threat of becoming the lions dinner, (Dan. 6:10)
3. Lydia the woman among the other women
She was highlighted among the other women. Her status set her apart. It could be that she was the only woman of wealth that gathered at the river (v.14). In Mat19:24, Jesus explained the difficulty for a rich person to seek after the things of God. Lydia showed that she was an exception to the rule. She did not view herself as better than the other women because of her status in Philippi “She was one of the women gathered there…listening”.
4. Lydia the Worshipper
Who is a worshiper – (John 4: 23-24)? To worship means to pay homage or reverence to God. It is man’s inherent nature to worship.
To worship means to have heart to heart communication with God and to hunger and thirst for the things of God (Matt 5:6).
Note: Lydia did not allow her status in life to limit her desire for the things of God. She took time out to spend time in prayer and to be among the people of God. As a sales woman she could have been busy seeking after her business but instead she made a conscious decision to pursue God. (Matt. 6:33)
A worshipper of God will risk all that he/she has and all that he/she is just to know Him, to learn about Him and to become like Him.( Matt.19: 21, 29; 22:1-14). She was like
a. David Ps.27:4; 42:1-2 b. Zaccheus (Lk19:1-10)
c. Blind Bartimeus (Jn 9:31) d. Mary Magdalene (Jn12:3)
e. The woman with the issue of blood (Mk 5: 25-29)
Remember the elders who threw their crowns and bow down and worshipped Him who sat on the throne (Rev. 4: 10)
5. Lydia the listener:
She sought a place of prayer, to listen. She was willing to be taught about the Kingdom of God, (Prov9:9). She risked seclusion or persecution to hear from the anointed servants of God. She was open to the gospel. As she listened and heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, her heart became receptive to the Word. (Rom. 10:17).
6. Lydia’s open heart
The Lord opened her heart, because she sought after Him. It tells you the state of Lydia’s heart for God. God states in His word that a broken and contrite heart he will hear Ps. 51: 17; 57:15; 66:2. God opened her heart because of her love for Him and her desperation to know about Him .She was not the only one listening but she was the only one whose heart was opened by God.
7 Lydia was obedient (v.14)
Lydia heard the Word of God, her faith grew and she acted upon it (James 2:17). She responded to the Word of God as spoken by His anointed servant and was baptized with her household. She received all that God offered and she shared it with her household.
8. Lydia the witness for Christ;
She was a true witness of God (Acts 10; 1-2), (household conviction 24-48). She saw her first ministry as introducing her family to the God that she loved. Her whole household was baptized. She was like Rehab (Josh2:12-13) who after coming in contact and assisting the men of Israel – sought for her whole household and all that belonged to her to be saved (when the time came, all were under her roof – where the scarlet thread hung). All that she learnt she taught her family (Deut11:18 -20)