Lydia was up early at the riverside as she often was. While she made sales in purple dye and beautified some textiles into something her wealthier patrons would be glad to purchase, she heard a man speaking.
Many other women like her were engaged in work. Some were dye sellers like she was.
He spoke very emphatically and yet with such compassion. She wasn’t one to fool around or waste her time. Time was money in her business. But the things he said captivated her.
She noticed that other women were listening too and so she stopped what she was doing, so she could hear him better.
She had heard about this God of the Jews and had already believed in Him and worshipped Him. When the man spoke about sin and God’s justice, something inside her broke. She knew she was a sinner. Oh but she could be forgiven. That’s what Jesus had done for her. What great news!
She wanted to know more. She wanted in. She had always been searching for truth and found that something was missing, for she could never meet up no matter how hard she tried. No matter all the good she had done.
“Wait, please!” Lydia called out. She brought all her household together to hear this good news and they were all baptized. She felt like a little girl when she came out of the water. It was pure joy.
The man was called Paul. He and his companions were set to leave. Surely that couldn’t be it. She wanted to know more. She wanted to be a part of this.
“Do you have any place to stay? You should all come and stay with me.”
He looked doubtful. She had to convince them she was sincere.
“If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay,” she pleaded.
They seemed to deliberate amongst themselves. Finally they gave their assent.
She was done with sales for the day. She was going to be hosting people of God! This way better than anything she could have imagined.
We don’t know Lydia’s story. We don’t know how she came to the point where she heard the good news and received it. We know though that she was hungry, thirsty for righteousness. She recognised truth for what it was.
She was a woman who knew when to stop and show kindness. We know that it could only have turned out for good for her.
Lydia didn’t seem like a young woman but an older one probably. She might have made many mistakes in her youth. She might have come to the conclusion that life wasn’t about the fleeting pleasures. She must have believed that there was more to who she was than a body and a mind.
I love Lydia’s story because it was simple. There was no great light shining down from heaven, but the simple and life changing good news of Jesus Christ. She was obviously empowered according to our modern standards at least. She had power. But she knew it meant nothing if she didn’t receive forgiveness of her sins from God through Christ Jesus.
She was a child at heart no matter how old she was because she simply believed the gospel. She believed it so much that she led her household to do the same. She believed it so much that she was prepared to support it in whatever way she could.
I can’t imagine that she felt superior to Paul and his companions simply because she could afford to house them.
I love this woman with a childlike heart and I want to be like her.