Who was Lydia, worshiper of God? Steph Nickel introduces us to Lydia, seller of purple, businesswoman, worshiper of God, and follower of Jesus.
Lydia, A Worshiper of God
To be known as “a worship of God” down through the millennia. Wow!
Most of us know Lydia as “a seller of purple goods.” This indicates that she was a businesswoman. And it’s my understanding that purple dye was difficult to come by. Therefore, she was obviously a successful and, likely, wealthy individual.
Almost from the beginning of time, people have sought after wealth and social standing. And just look at all the self-help books and courses available today. This is still what people are striving for. And let’s face it, most of us would at least like to have enough money not to worry about the future.
But let’s consider how we want to be remembered. If the Lord has enabled us to work hard and earn a good living, let’s remember to praise and thank Him. If we have enough material resources to live comfortably, let’s remember that He calls us to honour Him and bless others with those resources. Let’s not become distracted by acquiring more wealth and gaining respect and social standing.
Learn From Lydia
Let’s seek to be remembered as worshipers of God. Let’s learn from Lydia, the seller of purple goods, the worshiper of God.
In Acts 16:13-15, Luke says,
“On the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she prevailed upon us” (ESV).
This group of Jesus’s followers—which included Paul, Timothy, Luke, and likely others as well—were in search of a place by the river to pray. (For those of us who like to pray out in God’s creation, we are in good company.)
Lydia and a Group of Women
This group of believers came upon a group of women. Had they gathered for prayer or some other reason? We don’t know for sure. But we do know that Paul took this opportunity to share the gospel with these women. We don’t know how the others responded, but we do know that Lydia had “ears to hear” and a heart to receive the Truth.
Also, because verse 15 tells us that not only was Lydia baptized but also “her household as well,” we can come to the conclusion that at least some of the women with her were members of her household.
I don’t know if she would have labelled herself “a worshiper of God,” but even if she did, she didn’t let pride get in the way. When she heard that she would have to repent of her sin and acknowledge that Jesus had paid for that sin and risen victorious over sin and death, she humbly did so.
Lydia is Just Like Us
In this way, she is just like us. No matter how “religious” we are, we must remember John 14:6, which says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (ESV).
Just as it should be with us, Lydia’s first response to accepting the gospel was to take a step of obedience. She was baptized in the river as a sign of her fledgling faith. The various Christian denominations practice baptism differently. However, we must all learn from this passage—and so many others—that genuine faith results in obedience.
Our outward acts don’t save us, but genuine faith will always result in acts of obedience. James 2:17 says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (ESV).
Just like us, Lydia showed her faith by her actions.
I find the last part of today’s passage especially interesting. Verse 15 says, “And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she prevailed upon us” (ESV).
While Lydia was singled out, the members of her household also believed and were baptized. I’m sure this turned out to be an even more amazing day than either group had originally anticipated.
I also find it interesting that Lydia “prevailed upon” these early church leaders to stay at her home. She didn’t simply offer an invitation. She was far more insistent.
For the first time, I’ve come to realize this passage has something to teach us about how we should respond to those who share spiritual truths with us.
We may want to ask ourselves the following questions:
- Am I open to receiving the truths God wants to teach me?
- Do I receive the truth immediately?
- Do I seek to obey the Lord’s directives?
- Am I thankful for those He brings into my life to teach me the Truth?
- Do I receive the truth, act on it, but then go on my way or …
- Do I do all I can to learn from these teachers, inviting them into my home and seeking to bless them?
We may also want to ask ourselves these questions as well:
- Do I appreciate the pastor and other teachers in my church?
- Do I come to services and other gatherings with an open heart and an open mind to learn what God wants to teach me?
- Do I seek to put into practice the truths the Lord is teaching me through them?
- Do I eagerly seek to learn more?
- Do I let my leaders know how much I appreciate their teaching?
- Do I seek to bless them?
And if we learn from Christian authors and speakers, do we seek to implement what we’re learning? Do we let them know how the Lord has blessed us through them? I have taken a few minutes to reach out to some of those through whom the Lord has opened His Word to me. It makes a big difference to them and encourages them to continue doing what they’re doing.
Let’s learn from the story of Lydia, the worshiper of God who became a follower of Jesus.
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Images courtesy of:
Edinburgh Castle – ShenXin
River Woman – kranjes
Shoes – Myriams-Fotos
Sky – DanielReche