Lydia is mentioned twice in the book of Acts, but even from these short glimpses at her life we learn a lot about her. The Bible says she was from the city of Thyatira and was a seller of purple cloth. Since the process of dyeing cloth was expensive and the color purple a sign of royalty, Lydia was probably a well-to-do businesswoman. But the Bible tells us something else about Lydia. Acts 16:14 says Lydia “worshiped God” and “the Lord opened her heart.” Despite her job, prominent position, and riches, Lydia sought God, found time to worship Him, and believed in Him.
Here are two lessons from Lydia:
1. Lydia was seeking God with an open heart. Even though she worshipped God, Lydia was not yet a Christian (probably because no one had told her how to receive Jesus). Yet she knew the false gods and pagan religions of the day were not right so she aligned herself with people who were close to God and sought to know Him herself. Because of her eagerness and sincerity in seeking Him, God sent Paul to the city and opened Lydia’s heart to hear and accept the things he spoke of. Lydia did not have a closed mind to the truth. She did not have a closed heart to the Gospel. As a result, she became Paul’s first European convert.
Scripture is filled with verses urging us to seek the Lord just like Lydia did.
Lamentations 3:25 says: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
Deuteronomy 4:29 says: “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Proverbs 8:17 says: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.”
You see, God is not far from anyone of us. God wants to have a relationship with all of us. But He does not force us into a relationship with Him because He wants to know if we want the same. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus tells us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Jesus does not force His way into our hearts and lives. He knocks.
He does not demand. He asks.
He passionately and persistently pursues us, but He will not kidnap us into His grace.
When we sincerely seek God, we will find Him. Once we find Him, our hearts will stop searching and be at peace. Our cravings for true love and joy will be satisfied. Discontentment will disappear because in Christ we have all we need.
2. Lydia was a hospitable servant. Immediately after receiving Jesus and being baptized (along with her entire household), Lydia invited Paul and Silas to stay at her home. Not only did she invite them, Acts 16:15 says, “she begged” them and eventually persuaded them to stay. Lydia was eager to help those who had helped her come to the Lord.
It did not take long for Lydia to catch a fire for God. After she believed, she went and told everyone in her house and everyone in her house believed and they all were baptized. Then she opened the doors of her home and welcomed the faithful workers of God in where they were given food, rest, and proper care. For the rest of her days, Lydia loyally served God and was no doubt welcomed by Him into Heaven with “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your lord.”
We too have a place to serve in the kingdom of God. Whether it is leading worship at our church, going on an overseas mission trip, babysitting, or washing cars, all that we do should be done as unto Christ. We must serve with eagerness and faithfulness so that one day we too can join Lydia in Heaven and be commended by our Heavenly Father.