By Gladys McElmore
Lydia created a Christian lifestyle based on the teachings of Paul and Silas about Jesus Christ. As we read about this first century businesswoman, self-reflection about our ever increasing spiritual growth can be a powerful character trait. On Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, he met Lydia who understood his vision to help the Macedonian man. We too can visualize the pleading call for help. With unseasonable excitement during a riverbank prayer time on the Sabbath, Lydia among other women, heard Paul and Silas preach the word. The Lord opened Lydia’s heart as she boldly supported opportunities for Christian fellowship and service. Later she and her entire household were baptized. How important is building a family team for success as we do Christian work?
Ask God for a vision; ask for guidance and helpers. Effectively eliminate doubts about being spiritually unsustainable. Lydia of Philippi believed in Jesus Christ. She was a merchant of expensive purple cloth and a worshiper of God. Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe, opened her home and cradled the church of Philippi. Lydia was evidently a godly person who drew people to her as she listened to God’s word. Paul and Silas’ imprisonment (Acts 16:16-40) and release were followed by another visit to Lydia’s house to tell how God’s earthquake opened the prison doors! When responding to a need, remember to present the gospel in a manner that is sensitive to people’s problems and to present it in a manner that glorifies God. Do your best and pray for opportunities to move on to help others. Do we resist allowing some unsatisfactory relationships to stall our faith in God? Do we find ourselves praying and singing hymns when bad situations occur? The world needs to see our actions matching our faith! What is a sudden earthquake in our lives? Sometimes God creates a problem or problems to help us!
1.God allows a job loss to give us better employment.
2.Loss of income leads to a new home in a better neighborhood.
3.Sometimes God causes a disability or handicap so that we can do His work.
4.Other minor problems may include our use of time, forms of entertainment and in some
relationships with people where God intervenes and improves the quality of our lives.
5.God can move us from one location to another to create new opportunities for His service.
Also in our lives who is the jailor? Who prevents us from following Jesus? Ask God to reposition us away from devastating situations and grant us opportunities to grow spiritually strong enough to do His will. God can match us with the right people to get His work done at the right time. Acts 16:27-29 let us see the normal fright of a jailor trying to fulfill his known duties. He would have killed himself rather than to have faced failure. His actions could have been self-destructive if Paul and Silas had not assured him of their presence (Verse 28). God led Paul and Silas victoriously to save the jailor and his family through faith in Jesus and Baptism. After leaving the prison scene, they once again entered the home of Lydia who received them unconditionally. Much comforting compassion was shown before they eventually departed to continue their work elsewhere.
Lydia’s house exists today as we see God-fearing women doing all they can to support our spiritual leaders in our communities of faith. There are women who allow their homes to be used for Bible study, workshops and meetings at their own expense to glorify God.
Are we like Lydia who was totally unconcerned about the kinds of people we may encounter as we work for God? We sometimes have a variety of family members just like some new people we may encounter. For our homes, we may join Lydia’s thinking and can truthfully say that everything in a household changes when the people are “in Christ”. Having considered Paul’s association with Lydia and other women in an outdoor church setting and their conversions, may we move quickly to make a difference in the lives of others.
Lydia will forever stand among immortal women of the Bible as one who helped to spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us continue to ask God to allow us to respond to others often in a godly manner. How are we as women of God, missionaries and Christian workers impressed by Lydia’s life? Continue to ask God’s blessings on our work as we spread the good news of the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Mrs. Gladys McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.