I recently traveled through Greece following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. His missionary journeys changed the world as he proclaimed God’s grace through the gospel to the Gentiles. Walking among the ruins of ancient history gave me a small glimpse into these difficult journeys of hardship, suffering, and sacrifice. Scripture came alive at archaeological sites where Paul once ministered.
It was in Philippi near a river that the story of Lydia stirred up my faith in new and tangible ways. Lydia was a businesswoman, a dealer in purple cloth, and most likely wealthy. She was a worshipper of God and a woman of prayer. As she listened to Paul, “the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying” (Acts 16:14) . This was indeed a divine appointment! The Holy Spirit of God intervened to reroute Paul and ensure that Lydia would be in just the right place to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Lydia received this life-giving message making her the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Soon after being baptized she said to Paul and Silas, “come and stay at my home” and the church was birthed.
The book, Gospel Patrons, by John Rinehart characterizes Lydia as a patron of the gospel. The author states, “When God raises up people to proclaim the gospel he also raises up patrons to support them. They have different gifts and different roles, but are partners in the same mission.” Lydia was a woman of influence who used her wealth and talents to advance the message of Jesus and consequently is remembered for her contribution to Paul’s ministry. Standing by that quiet river in Philippi I was reminded that God is looking for women of influence in this day and generation. How can I use my resources -home, money, and talents to draw people to the Savior?
Kathie Brown © April 2019