Written By Angelique Geeringh
In Acts 16, we read about Paul’s second missionary journey. On this journey, we meet Lydia, and she is a reminder to us that businesswomen have been impacting the kingdom of God since Bible times. Lydia had come from the city of Thyatira in Asia Minor, but met Paul while she was living in the European city of Philippi and became the first convert in his European ministry. Interestingly enough, Paul and his colleagues had been headed to Asia to spread the gospel when “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6). They went to Europe instead and met Lydia there, so he was able to reach the Asian women with the gospel anyway.
Lydia met Paul in a riverside place where Jewish women regularly gathered to pray. She was a worshiper, but not baptized until after “the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14). After hearing Paul preach, Lydia and her entire household were saved.
A wealthy woman of significant social status and influence, Lydia made her living selling items that were dyed with a valuable purple dye made from shellfish. She expressed her generosity and hospitality by receiving Paul and Silas as guests in her home (see Acts 16:15) She also started a church in her home for believers nearby, and no doubt continued to use her resources to further the cause of Christ.
For women today, Lydia is an excellent example for us to use every possible means to build the kingdom of God. Whether we can be stewards of wealth, influence or authority, let us give generously to spread the gospel.
We take our promise this week from Peter in Acts 2:38 on how to be equipped to be an ambassador for Christ in all walks of life:
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Lydia was an independent, successful and single businesswoman. She was also a key figure in the young church that Paul planted at Philippi. It is good to remember Lydia when we hear some teach that the only career for women is that of marriage and raising children. As Paul states in Corinthians 7, whether we marry or remain single, is a matter of God deciding on what each individual woman and that she will be a blessing in whatever area she may find herself in. We need to honour single woman to do their calling in the same way that we honour Christian wives and mothers.