Lydia’s Lesson

“‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord’, she said, ‘come and stay at my house.” Acts 16:15  NIV



photo: Renae Bowman

How’s your busy life going?


Do you struggle with what you do and what you want to do?


Do you, like me, feel that if you could just have “free time” you would devote so much more to the Son of Man, or just mankind in general?


And if that time existed, it could be filled with  missionary work, or helping the homeless, or caring for orphaned children, or feeding the poor, etc., etc.




Just when those hyper-Christian feelings bubble up, or when the guilt of having when others have not creep in, God sends a very interesting person to give us a different perspective.




Beloved Lydia of Thyatira, who “was a dealer in purple cloth.”


A businesswoman, who was wealthy, had status, had servants, and had the life others wanted.


And she became the first convert for Christ, the first person that the Apostle Paul baptized in all of Europe.  Pretty significant!


This woman.  A self-made woman who did the corporate meetings, held high-energy deals, worked long hours, sacrificed much for a buck—and subsequently gave her heart to Christ.  But she didn’t give away the farm.


I think we can learn a thing or two from Ms Lydia:


–if you’re on the corporate ladder you don’t have to jump off to follow Christ.


–if your pockets are full and you have the “stuff”, you don’t have to become poor to know Jesus.


–if your days are filled with endless work, you don’t have to join a nunnery to get close to God.


We know from the story of Lydia that she followed those very thoughts.  In the Book of Acts, we learn in such a small window what this woman was like.  She worked.  She lead a life outside of keeping a home and doing charity work, and yet still made a staring role in the greatest book ever written.


God used her.  He put her story out there for the rest of us to learn from.


I think so many of us get wrapped up in having to do something in order to measure our faithfulness in and with God.


This just isn’t true.


Lydia shows us that.  She was a rich entrepreneur who was used right where she was in life.




She simply opened the doors to her house.

“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.” Acts 16:14-15

And that’s it.  That’s all she did.


No missions work to speak of.  No serving the poor. No selling off all of her possessions.


Yet that simple act of opening her home to the apostles, once she said yes to Jesus, raised her to the status of heroine.


And she did it again a second time, later when Paul and Silas were released from prison.


That is all we know of Lydia.  But boy it’s much. So much so that Paul gave a huge nod to this hospitable woman.


So what is your gauge of doing God’s work?


Is there a list that has formed but seems unobtainable?


Bless you, if you have a desire to sell everything and live with the poor.  Bless you, if God has whispered in your ear to do missions trips to third world countries.  Bless you, if your heart has been made ready to preach in front of thousands.  That may be your calling.


But there are the rest of us in the world.  The ones who are struggling to just do life. The ones who are trying to keep our families together, food on the table, and the bills paid. And some guilt for only doing this.


…Remember Lydia.


She went to a prayer meeting and heard a message that changed her soul. Yet her routines remained the same.  And it was used mightily!


That, my frazzled sisters, is my prayer for you.

That you put aside the guilt of not feeding the hungry, and let God feed your soul.

That you remain where you are at, so God can remain in you.

And that you open the doors of your house—so God can be the One who visits.


May you be a Lydia of our time.

A woman who understands purple for income and God’s grace for salvation.


8 Replies

  1. Christina

    Thank you for continuing to feed my soul with your blog. Every time I read your blog I feel so refreshed and it makes me reflect on how to be a better person. I love how you remind us that we don’t have to move a mountain to make a difference. Moving a rock makes a difference and we all have to do what we can to make this world a better place!

    1. Oh dear friend, you nailed it. No mountains–just rocks!! So, so true. Thank you for your deepest support of this ministry and I am glad you are fed by it. That’s what makes us do what we do. <3

  2. Devery

    Great message, Renae! This same thing was brought up with an elderly widow, yesterday, ….learning to recognize the value of the “small” things we do for the kingdom. This woman underestimated her lifetime role of wife and mother….that she didn’t do something spectacular for the kingdom…..yet in her role, that our society devalues….her children all grew up to adore the Lord, and her husband loved and adored her and took care of her well, as she had done for him, until his death. I told her that no one has done more for the Lord, than she, as she was the perfect helpmate, as God had designed, and that she filled that role so beautifully. I think she now believes it! God is good!

    1. Thank you Devery! You are spot on. The woman you spoke of has done exactly as you have said, furthered the Kingdom. Yet we fall into the lie that so much more HAS to be done. Sometimes we get a deeper call, but more often we just get encouragement to get through the day. What better reward than bringing your family to Christ! Amen to you for pointing that out to her. Blessings to you Devery, and thank you for your endless support of this ministry.

  3. Jeanette Pittman

    So often I read The Hope Filled Road and say nothing. Thank you for sharing this and Lydia’s story today! It has touched and encouraged me.

    1. Oh Jeanette you are so welcome! Thank YOU for supporting us whether you respond or not. I am glad God has encouraged you today, His Word rings true! Blessings Jeanette.

  4. Karen Uribe

    Awesome read this morning Renae! Thanks so much for the reminder 🙂

    1. Thank you Karen! Many blessings to you today.

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