May 17

Acts 16:11-13

“When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.” vs. 13

When Paul and his companions arrived in Philippi after crossing the Aegean Sea there wasn’t an established synagogue but there were some Greek women who were God-fearers, i.e. they had been attracted to Jewish teachings but had not become converts. Paul found them by a river near the city on the sabbath and reached out to them with his Christ story. One of them, Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, received what he said with eagerness, and, together with her household, was baptized. Presumably a long period of instruction was not necessary at that time! She was so moved that she invited Paul and the men with him to come stay at her house–and they did it. Unfortunately, we don’t know more about Lydia, but we do know that the little congregation that grew up in Philippi likely was centered in her home. Paul was so proud of those people and even wrote a love letter to them while he was in prison. It’s likely no accident that this faith community, known for its generosity, was led by a well-established business woman. Lydia is honored in the church as the first European convert and her influence over the centuries has been enormous. What a blessing it is when women are not only seen as servants, but as leaders! 

Thought for the Day: How might a woman’s style of leadership be different?

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