Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Lessons from 31 Women: Lydia of Thyatira

Lydia of Thyatira only gets a few brief mentions in the book of Acts.  She almost seems like background noise.  It's easy to miss her, but don't.  She's a trailblazer.

On the Sabbath day, we went outside the city walls to the nearby river, assuming that some Jewish people might be gathering for prayer.  We found a group of women there, so we sat down and spoke to them.  One of them, Lydia, was a business woman originally from Thyatira.  She made a living buying and selling fine purple fabric.  She was a true worshiper of God and listened to Paul with special interest.  The Lord opened her heart to take in the message with enthusiasm.  She and her whole household were ceremonially washed through baptism.

Lydia: If you believe I'm truly faithful to the Lord, please, you must come and stay at my home.

We couldn't turn down her invitation.        -Acts 16:13-15

A few verses later, after the most spectacular jailbreak (which you simply must read for yourself in Acts 16:16-39), Lydia is mentioned again as hosting the first Christian church in the city of Phillipi in her home.  That's it.  That's all we know about her.

We don't know who her family is.  We don't know if she was married or not.  We don't know anything about her personal sin history or if she fell victim to any of the usual suspects of tragedy like childlessness or widowhood that plague Biblical women.  We know none of that.

Which is kind of nice.  We just get to know Lydia for herself.

I'd like to have coffee with Lydia.  Oh, she might would tell me about all the brokenness in her past, how she's divorced or she lost a child- we all have those stories.  But I think she would tell me more about Jesus and the hope she finds in him.  The difference in Lydia is that she's not defining herself by the brokenness.  She's defining herself by the Lord.  And that gives me hope too.

Thank you Lydia.  We need strong women to go first.