Summary: Luke shares with us the picture of a perfect role model for today - 1. A woman who was very successful in her career 2. A woman who possessed a deep conviction for God 3. A woman who was converted and committed to Jesus Christ
Theme: Christian Role Models - Lydia
Proposition: In this passage we meet Lydia 1. A Successful Career Woman 2. A Woman with a deep conviction for God 3. A Woman Converted and Committed in Christ
Grace and peace this morning from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of our World!
This morning, if you had to list some of your role models, who would you list? Who are some of the people t hat have provided you with some much needed motivation and inspiration? The dictionary defines a " role model as a person whose behavior, example or success is such that others want to emulate them." People look at how they lived or how they are living and it provides them some extra incentive and encouragement .
It's interesting to look at who some of the role models have been over the years. Each generation seems to pick out its own role models depending on its own particular set of principles and values. As I was growing up our school teachers had us study the lives of individuals like Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Madam Curie, Thomas Edison and Betsy Ross. We were to read their stories and study their lives in hopes that by doing so it would help us to become people of integrity, creativity and intelligence. They were to be examples of just how much we could do for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Today, Luke shares with us the story of St. Lydia, a woman whom he believed was a great role model for the disciples of the Early Church. He shares her story to inspire and motivate us to be the best we can be for our LORD. For a few moments let's look at her life and glean from it some inspiration, motivation and encouragement.
I. Luke shares that Lydia was a successful career woman
In verse 14, we read that Lydia was a native of the city of Thyatira. Thyatira was located about 250 miles east of Philippi in the Roman province of Asia. Thyatira was also where one of the 7 major Churches of the book of Revelation was located. It was a church known for its faith, love, service and perseverance.
Thyatira was also a city known for its trade guilds or trade organizations. Ancient trade guilds operated much like our labor unions do today. They were industry specific, and they involved groups of workers who banded together to advance some common causes. Scholars tell us that “No other city seems to have had so many guilds as Thyatira: coppersmiths, bronze workers, tanners, leather workers, dyers, workers in wool and linen, potters, bakers, and slave dealers” (Biblical Sites in Turkey, by Blake and Edmonds, p.132).
Lydia had roots in the purple dye business. She had roots in the guilds that were able to produce the finest purple colored material in the Roman Empire. At that time the fad was to wear something purple. The color purple was sometimes applied to a woman's cheeks or lips as a cosmetic but by far the most important use of purple was in the clothes of the upper class. Everyone who was anyone wanted something bordered by the color purple, be it a toga, a robe or a head dress.
There were other guides in the Empire that could manufacture purple material but the dye they used didn't hold or last. After a few months of washing and wearing the dye would fade and the material would either look washed out or appear more red or blue in color. The people of Thyatira had perfected a way to dye the material so that the color purple stayed brilliant and lasted longer. No matter how many times you washed the material the purple color would hold fast.
That meant that the purple material from Thyatira was in high demand all around the Roman Empire. And like most things in high demand it also demanded a high price. To wear something purple in the 1st century meant that you were either rich, you had arrived or that you were well on your way up the social ladder. Purple clothing was a status symbol of the rich and powerful.
Church history tells us that Lydia was a purple merchant. She was in the import and export business of selling purple dyed cloth to all those around Asia Minor and Macedonia. From the best that we can glean from her story, Lydia either own her own business or worked for a wealthy merchant who would send her an large amount of product from Thyatira to Philippi where she would oversee its delivery and then market it all over the Macedonian area.