hospitality

Faithful, Hospitable Lydia

Sunday, August 19, 2012

“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” (Acts 16:14 KJV).

Lydia demonstrates how Christian women can be helpful in the ministry.

In the context of today’s Scripture, Paul, Silas, Timotheus (Timothy), and Luke are accompanying Paul on his second apostolic journey. Luke narrates: “And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont [accustomed] to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither” (verses 12,13). While Paul, Silas, Timotheus, and Luke are in Philippi, some Jewish women have gathered by a riverside on the Sabbath day to have a prayer service.

Paul, seeing opportunity to share the Gospel of the Grace of God, preaches to the group. While we do not know how many women were present, the Bible only mentions Lydia, a Jewess who is rather wealthy (she is “a seller of purple,” and purple cloth was expensive at that time). As Paul preaches the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for sins, Lydia listens intently, and then places her faith in that message (Paul’s Gospel).

After she and her household were saved and water baptized, Lydia told Paul, Silas, Timotheus, and Luke: “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained [urged] us” (verse 15). And so, Lydia lodged them in her house. Later, after being freed from prison, Paul and Silas return to Lydia’s house to see and comfort the Christian brethren there (verse 40).

Scripture never again mentions Lydia. Nevertheless, she was faithful and hospitable in that she took care of God’s apostles by inviting them into her home to lodge. Lydia’s actions will remain recorded forever in God’s Book as a testimony that God can use women for His glory.