‘So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis; and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.’ Acts 16:11-15
‘They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.’ Act 16:40
In Acts 16, we read about the first European convert – a woman named Lydia. Lydia was assembled with a group of women on the Sabbath. Paul and Timothy spoke to the assembly of women. The scriptures tell us that ‘she was listening’ and describes Lydia as a worshiper of God. We read that she was opened to hear the words of Paul. After hearing Paul’s words, she and her household were baptized. The scriptures doesn’t tell us who was in her household or if they were present with her at this assembly of women outside the gate, but we know her heart was open to hear Paul’s words. Then, she accepted the truth and her family followed suit. Lydia’s faithfulness in God led her to hear the truth, be baptized along with her family, and to show hospitality to those who taught her the truth.
The end of these verses, we read about Lydia’s faith in action. She persuaded Paul and Timothy to stay with her. Even though people staying with you was more common in biblical times than our present day, I imagine this was still a difficult thing. Paul and Timothy were strangers to her. Inviting these men into her home took faith, trust, and courage in the Lord. I’m inclined to think that Lydia saw this as an opportunity to learn more about Jesus. Whatever her reason, being hospitable is something scriptures emphasize as important for a child of God to participate in.
‘contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.’ Romans 12:13
“Be hospitable to one another without complaint” 1 Pet. 4:9.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2.
The bible inspires us with so many examples of faithful women and Lydia’s story is no exception. Being the first European conversion gave her a place of significance within the scriptures, but I believe her example of faithfulness to worship God, openness to hear the truth, and her willingness to practice hospitality give her a place of significance as a Women of Faith and someone we can learn from.
Until next time