“A certain woman named Lydia heard us. … And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (Acts 16:14, 15).
She was far from home. Thyatira was 400 long and lonely miles from Philippi, where Lydia, a “seller of purple,” ran her business. Along with her skills in fabric and, presumably, merchandising, she brought her worship of the one true God. As a Gentile convert to Jewish belief and worship, she was exposed to the story of the Jewish Messiah named Jesus.
That story came from Paul, along the banks of the river one Sabbath day. Lydia, attentive to spiritual matters, received Paul’s word gladly because God Himself opened her heart. The result? Lydia “and her household were baptized.”
It’s important to note here that baptism marks a change in life. When one is “buried” beneath the waters—and, as the Bible plainly shows, it is baptism by immersion (in the Greek language, baptízō), that was practiced by John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples—one is saying farewell to the old life of sin, “rising” from the water to a new and changed life.
We see this in Lydia’s immediate action. She may well have been a person of hospitality before, but now, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, she begged Paul and his party to stay at her house. It wasn’t just a polite request, the kind of insincere message we often hear: “Oh, if you’re in town, come stay with us.” This was earnest, sincere pleading for the opportunity to serve God’s people.
Lydia’s graciousness reflected not only God’s working in her new life as a believer but also the attitude of hospitality all believers will have. As the Lord provides, opening our homes to those in need, welcoming friends, old and new, after church or during the week, is the kind of gift that costs little, but leaves an eternal impression.
Dear Lord, let me be like Lydia, and let me welcome those who come in Your name, as well as those who need to learn about You!
For Further Study: Acts 16:11-15, 35-40; Gen. 18:1–5; 2 Kings 4:8–10