Lydia Speaks

Open Door- Acts 15:36-16:40; Philippians 1

purpleLydia was modestly, but elegantly dressed; her welcome was genuine; and her smile revealed an engaging nature.  She adjusted her beautiful purple scarf as we sat down together, and she began to tell her story.  “Our dear brother Paul,” she began, “is one of the most interesting men I have ever met.  Because of him, I know Christ is my Savior and I will be forever grateful.”

“I’m from Thyatira, and I have a business there, making and selling purple dye and fabrics.  The purple from our region is famous all around the world. Sometimes I live here in Philippi to handle distribution of our products. But I know that meeting Paul and his companions by the river that day was no accident.  God sent him to us”

“I was a follower of God. Wherever I go for my business, I try to find other worshipers who meet for prayer. There were not enough Jewish men in Philippi to have a synagogue, so on that Sabbath, my friends and I gathered near the river to pray. When Paul and his friends came by, they joined us.  I was amazed at his teaching.  The Truth resonated with me as no other knowledge or philosophy ever has.  I knew in my spirit that it was from God himself.”

“As a Gentile, I had never had an opportunity for such teaching.  In my travels, I had become friends with some who worshiped the God of Israel.  Their ways drew me to their God above all others.  I had heard rumors about a prophet named Jesus, but when Paul explained that he was the Messiah, I was captivated.  I believe that Jesus died, that he was buried, and that he rose again.  That is why I was baptized right there and then. My household also joined me.”

“Maybe Brother Paul had not dealt with a woman who had a business before…although the Poet King Solomon did write about a woman who bought and sold land,” she mused.  “I think I may have overwhelmed him,” she said with a laugh. “I was so excited!  I had questions and I wanted to learn more. I implored him to come to my home and stay with us.”

“He seemed hesitant to accept my invitation.  I may have forced the issue but I asked him if he did not believe that I was a faithful believer—if there was a reason he and his men could not come to my home.  When I urged him in that way he graciously agreed to stay with us.”

“It was while he was there that I learned  Paul had wanted to reach more cities in Asia, but that the Lord had directed him to Macedonia.  Imagine, here in Philippi, God opened the door to the cities of Asia. I go back home and share the Good News with all my family and friends, in Thyatira…and everywhere else I go!”

“Paul blessed Philippi with his ministry and teaching, but the political leaders in the city dealt with with him unjustly.”  Lydia continued, as tears pooled in her eyes, “They put Paul and Silas in prison because helping and healing people who were enslaved by sin was bad for business.”  Then she added with determination, “I know business.  Bad businesses that do harm need to disappear. The best way for that to happen is for God’s truth to free people from Satan’s lies and illusions.  They may have sent Paul and Silas away, but evil has no power to stand against the saving work of Jesus Christ.  The Truth will stand forever!”