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
Paul recounted this little story in Acts about a local leader. It’s a little obscure, but just packed with lessons for women leaders. The description of Lydia’s traits: worshipper, open-hearted to the message of Jesus, follower of Christ, leader of her family, hospitable and persuasive!
Maybe you are new at recognizing that you are leading. Maybe you just opened your heart to God and you are learning to worship. Maybe you are experiencing God in new ways and you just want to share! Maybe you are just a little further along and beginning to feel the delight of sharing that message with others. You may want to be baptized, or want your family to experience the joy of knowing Jesus. Maybe, like Lydia, you want to open your home for others to enjoy your particular brand of hospitality.
All these qualities are leadership qualities.
Do you ever lead by default? The PTA, the church, the Scouts. Maybe you never asked to become the leader, but clearly if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. So you make the commitment and you do it.
This is especially true of our spiritual leadership at home.
After meditating on this passage about Lydia, I realized that though I did not anticipate this, I am by default, the Spiritual Leader Of The Home. SLOTH. (Yes, I really went there).
Lydia had six winsome leadership characteristics that we will study in more detail in the next few days:
- Worshiper of God
- Heart was opened by God
- Operated in her giftedness
Like Lydia, I did not ask to be the spiritual leader in my family. Some days I feel like I am marching on ahead and no one in my family is following. In fact, they don’t appear to even pay attention! But God calls us to lead anyway.
Once we have been called into spiritual leadership of our family, our reluctance is a moot point. There is no going back. The future of our children, indeed, generations of our family, are affected by the decisions we make today.
So lead. Because you are called to. Because you are obedient. Obedience gives us access to a God who wants to open our hearts to respond. To each person our lives touch. And through our example, as imperfect as we might be, God wants to open the hearts of our husbands, sons and daughters.
Many women are spiritual leaders in their homes: spiritually single wives, single moms, divorced women, widows, unmarried moms are all leading their families….somewhere. You know who you are and what your circumstances are. So does God.
In the next few days, we will unpack Lydia’s example. It gives us six characteristics of leadership that made her more affective and gave her great joy. “…and she and the members of her household were baptized…” If we study her, could Lydia teach us to be a better leader? A better SLOTH?
If you become a better leader, more like Lydia, where do you dream your family might be in the next year? five years? What might happen if you don’t lead your family?