May 25 – Extraordinary Women of the Bible – Lydia

Read Acts 16:13-15

This painting by William Holman Hunt is an illustration of Revelation 3:20, depicting Christ standing at a door knocking.  When Hunt showed the painting to his family and friends, they commented that it was beautiful, but that he forgot something important. They pointed out that he forgot, “a latch or handle of some type.”  Hunt replied, “Oh no, I didn’t forget the handle.  When Jesus knocks on the door of your heart – the handle’s on the INSIDE.”

In Acts 16:13-15 we read the story of Lydia, one who heard the knocking on her heart and responded.

v14 : An opened heart.

Lydia was at the river outside of Philippi, praying and worshipping with other women. Notice that not just the place of worship was mentioned, but also the name of one who was there. God is concerned about the individual!  Lydia, a successful businesswoman, made time in her day to worship the Lord.  She had a heart that was willing to listen and to learn.  She had a hunger and thirst for more in her life and found it in God. When Paul shared the gospel message, she opened the door of her heart, and invited Jesus in.  It’s not enough to be a worshipper of God, we must believe in the work of His Son, and invite Him into our heart.  Around the door in the painting are many plants that seem to crowd the door.   What is crowding the door in your life: work, family, finances, hobbies?  Lydia was a successful businesswoman, but it did not stand in the way of inviting Him into her life.

v15 : An opened home.

“When the heart is opened to Jesus, the ear is opened to His word, the lips are opened in prayer

and the hand is opened in charity.”

Matthew Henry

Lydia had opened the door of her heart and now her hand is opened in charity.  She was insistent that Paul and his companions come to her home.  She saw her first ministry as one of introducing her household to the One who was knocking at the door of her heart. This took great courage on her part because the prevailing spirit in Philippi was one of persecution to those following the teachings of Paul.  (Acts 16:16-24) All in her household believed and were baptized.  The result of her hospitality? A church. 

In Acts 16:40 after their miraculous release from prison, Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s house to meet with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Her hospitality led to a vibrant church in Philippi, where others heard the good news of Jesus. 

A guest at one of our children’s wedding said, “That ceremony was a little heavy on the Jesus stuff, don’t you think?”  The reply from another guest was, “Don’t you know whose house this is?” How is your house perceived by others?  How can you make your home a place of rest in Christ?  Who do you know who needs to open the door of their heart? 

Invite them into your home.

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