Welcome to the Women of the Bible video series!! Each video in this 6 week series lasts 15 minutes and covers one woman of the Bible to whom we can relate today. Below is a transcription of the video. Enjoy!
Welcome. I’m Rachel Wojo and this is my dear friend, Jennifer Jackson, from The Church Next Door here in Columbus Ohio. We are sharing with you today the beginning of new series, Six Women who simply came to Jesus, and I’m so excited. Thank you so much for being with us today. We taught this series at a conference here in The Church Next Door. And we’re so excited to be breaking it down into small increments and sharing it with you!
So our first woman today will be Lydia. Lydia is mentioned in Acts and I can’t wait to just read through this passage. You want to grab your bible or listen carefully. I would like to read a fairly large passage but it starts at verse 13. I will go ahead and begin at verse 11.
Acts 16:11 “So setting sail from Troas we made a direct voyage to Samothrace and the following day to Neapolis. From there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the District of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days and 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 I could just stop right there.) And after she was baptized in her household as well she urged us saying if you had judged me to be faithful to the Lord. Come to my house and stay. And she prevailed upon us.”
I just love the story of Lydia because there’s not a whole lot said about her. You know, as many women in the Bible. Women were often overlooked or not thought of because in that day and age they were more of a property than an asset,unfortunately. And so I look back at this and think “Wow, she was different. She was very different.” I’ll read this verse on the end… “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.” I just love the fact that Paul knew where to go to find the women; they were in a place of prayer. “Yeah that’s beautiful.”I love that fact and then here she is. First of all we do know her name “Lydia.”
Lydia the Diva
We know her name and so many women in the Bible, we don’t even know their names. But Lydia was different. She was a diva. I’m going to share a five little detailed description of her: She was a diva. She was well known and you know I first thought, “OK well, this was probably Oprah level. You know everybody knew her; she had a brand. Maybe she had her own TV channel. And then when I came down to it, I was like… OK well maybe it was more like Pioneer Woman where she just had her own show; not her own channel. But if she were in modern day she would be known she would be well known. She’d have all her social media channels on point today. Her Instagram would be stellar. She was a seller of purple. And you know this is the same as having a kitchen aid mixer with purposeful art on it right? That’s what Lydia’s job was she made people feel things she made life better and she was very well known.
She was an entrepreneur. So possibly a shop owner. And I just love that mostly she was a market seller which means she probably had her goods out in the market and she sold them. But she had a good reputation. So even though she was a diva her diva ship was a good thing right. But here’s where her story starts to get interesting. She has a great job. She’s purposeful about her work. She knows what she’s doing. She has quality goods to sell. She has a great career. You know like so many of us today, she was hard-working.
But she was dissatisfied. How do we know she was dissatisfied? Well she was at a prayer meeting trying to figure things out. Y you know that one little phrase in there. And the passage. I love because. It says.
She was a worshiper of God.
(Women of the Bible video series continued…)
So she worshiped God; she knew him, but she was always wanting something more. When I first thought about this, I dove deeper into the commentaries to try to figure this out a little bit because “worshiper of God” is sort of a vague description and I wanted to know did she really have a relationship with Jesus at this point. I’m not sure that she did. I think that she knew who God was; she recognized who God was. But she was still trying to understand his personal love for her. And you know she knew love God’s love on a larger scale and she was craving more. In spite of all her finances, and in spite of her economic success, she was craving more.
And oh my goodness. A Highly- successful entrepreneur of a society who is and always craving more. It’s never enough and it’s true there’s a side of us that always something more.
Lydia sought fulfillment outside of her work.
Like Lydia I think one of the important things here is to recognize that she knew her true fulfillment could not be completed through the things of this world. Her own purple goods, as much as she loved making those and as much as she celebrated her business, she knew that the craftsmanship of her hands was not enough to complete her whole fulfillment.
I believe with all my heart that in today’s world today’s culture women have to come to this realization. That as much as we use our gifts, as wonderful talents and skills that we have, and we’re allowed to use them in a way that we never have before, but this is the realization:
I really believe that God was telling her your most intimate relationship needs to be with me and your most fulfilled moments will come from me. Chasing success who will never offer true satisfaction like chasing after God does. It will never offer that. And so I just want to read here: I wrote a statement about this. “The dissatisfaction in our hearts is a sign that we’re pursuing the wrong dream.” I often feel that dissatisfaction because I’m one of those people that’s always driven to know that next step, what’s around the corner. You know that’s just part of my personality. So if it’s not part of yours, you know you may not feel this as much. but that dissatisfaction can often be overwhelming. I just want to encourage you today to be like Lydia. To get in a place of prayer. To come to a quiet area and to realize that God is with you. He loves you and HE will fulfill your deepest desires. And like anything or anyone else ever can.
Lydia: The Daring One
The next fact about Lydia that I loved is that she was daring. The Lord had opened her heart. And I love that part about her: she was daring! God saw her decisions and choices to find out more. And he honored them. So the fact that she moved into a place of prayer was huge and this made her a daring person. Not only could she go beyond believing that God just existed but I think this is where Lydia started to see God wants to use me. And she made herself available. She was daring.
Then she also was detail-oriented. Verse “so she paid attention to the words of Paul.” I love what it says in the verses here. It says the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. If there’s not a time in the world when we are so distracted by everything under the sun. Whether it’s social media, whether it is television, whether it’s our neighbors, and what they have and what they’re doing. It’s so easy to be distracted away from what God has really called us to do and be in the Christian life.
I think of Lydia’s example of how the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to the details. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to the details of how God instructs us because we’re so caught up in the distractions. It’s like that squirrel on the movie Up. The wonderful Disney movie ( because I have so many children I know these theological principles, right?) And so in that movie you know the squirrel is the distraction. But for us, it can just be anything.
And I would just encourage you today maybe to get us get some time set aside to look at Lydia in a closer way. Look at these verses. Meditate on the passage and say “Lord, what would it take for me to be the one that you opened my heart? That I would pay attention to the details, to really calm down and be able to do what you’ve called me to do because I have no doubts about what it is in my heart. I’ve spent the time with you. I’ve invested in a relationship with you and I really want your guidance and I love that the Lord did that for her because she was detail oriented. The choice is not given. That you know she made the snap decision to be a woman of faith. The Bible doesn’t clearly tell us exactly how she came about to truly trust the Lord but if we if we look down a little bit more…. It says in verse 16. “After she was baptized and her household as well.” Wow. And so. Her entire household was baptized.
There was some serious teaching and sharing going on in this atmosphere. It wasn’t just a whim that she chose to follow the Lord. I mean her whole business was at stake to some degree because that was her established recognition was being a business woman. Being an entrepreneur. Being a market seller. And so it wasn’t anything petty for her to really choose to follow the Lord. Her reputation was on the line. Absolutely absolutely. If you have judged me to be faithful or come to my house and stay and I love that she just opens up her home to Paul she opens up her home. She was determined to use her gift of hospitality.
I suppose when you look at Lydia you could say well she had the gift of hospitality and think “That really isn’t me. That’s just not my thing.” I get it. But I think that the bigger lesson we could learn from her is just her determination to use what she had and the gift that she had and the opportunity before her. So many times I think we miss out on opportunities to serve the Lord because we’re distracted and we’re not detail oriented and we haven’t spent time at the Lord as she did in her prayer time and in this worship time that she had.
So I think her persuasion to Paul and Silas was so strong of all that she had been through.
She’s highly motivated and it’s OK to be highly motivated; just don’t lose sight of the Lord.
So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. We got to keep going. So act 16 we’re going to skip all the way down to verse 40 to kind of finish up Lydia’s story. So we left her: Lydia’s telling Paul and Silas to really come and just be a witness to her family and to enjoy her hospitality. And then what’s so cool is Paul and Silas go back to visit Lydia. Look down at verse 40 at the end of Chapter 16. “They went out of the prison and visited Lydia when they had seen the brothers thing purged them and departed.”
So she was afforded a second visit by the missionaries. And I think that maybe her persistence and just her love was so evident, her love for God was so evident that the missionary said, “Awesome! We’ve got the perfect place to go back to now that they’ve released us out of prison.” What a great story it is we’re wrapping it up in a very small amount of time. I just want to encourage you today.
Lydia in Summary
You know you look at these six words that describe Lydia her diva-ship, as far as being an entrepreneur. The fact that she was dissatisfied but she kept going. She figured out the point of what that dissatisfaction was. She was daring and bold and brave to pursue what she knew God had for her. And she was detail-oriented, not getting distracted , keeping the main thing the main thing but really looking after what God had for her. And then lastly my favorite is that she was just determined. She was determined to follow through with what God had for her. And I encourage you today I’m going to close in prayer. But if you need this prayer just to renew your perseverance and determination to follow after God then I would encourage you to stop and pray with us right now.
Lord Jesus, I thank you so much for the opportunity just to review the story of Lydia in Your Word. I pray that as these readers and listeners listen to this short study on Lydia, an explanation of her life and how she simply came to the Lord, brought herself, brought her goods , brought her skill set, and brought her talents. She was determined to pursue after You and grasp on to the opportunities that were given her. I pray now that each and every person watching this video would feel encouraged and empowered to do the same. That they would know your strength is available to them that they can pursue and follow after you with all their heart because You give us the energy and the determination to do so. And we praise you and thank you in Jesus’ name Amen Amen.
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We’ll see you next Wednesday for the next video in this series!
By his grace,