Leadership Characteristic 1: A worshiper of God
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. 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. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16: 13-15
We know that Lydia was from Thyatira in the region of Lydia. It is even possible that Lydia was not her personal name, but that she was referred to as “The Lydian” like we could call someone from Texas “Tex.” Whether or not it was her personal name, the name Lydia means “bending.” She might have been flexible in the way she thought and responded. I just can’t help thinking, she might bend, but wouldn’t break.
The city where Lydia lived, Thyatira, was a melting pot of many nations. The region worshipped Apollo, but there was a strong Jewish contingency that lived in the city too. Though Lydia was originally from Asia Minor, scripture tells us she “was a worshipper of God” which would have meant the one Jewish God. It appears Lydia hung out with the Jews in her adopted city. Why?
It was the only way to follow God. Lydia needed to learn the Jewish customs of that time to follow their God. She needed to know exactly what she believed and how to live out her beliefs. Lydia learned these things from the Jews in her circle. We need to learn them too:
- to worship
- to pray daily
- to fellowship with others
In Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, chapter 10 tells us that the heart of worship is surrender. Lydia surrendered her heart and her own culture for the one true God of another culture. Like Lydia, we live in a similar situation. Our culture is complicated. We can surrender the complications of our culture for the one true God too. We can choose to surrender our old attitudes and beliefs for God’s ways and then learn how to live out our new beliefs.
Perhaps like Lydia, you have bent, but not broken. You want to build the foundation to become the spiritual leader of the home, and perhaps even into your community. You want to take those first steps of worship, prayer and fellowship. How do you manage all that when you don’t have a mate that participates with you?
Tomorrow we will look at another SLOTH characteristic of Lydia: Her success!
I am indebted to BibleGateway.com for their Women of the Bible eNewsletter which provided the historical data for this blog post. I highly recommend it!