Reading is one of my hobbies and I especially enjoy reading historical fiction. As I’ve been reading the book of Acts this month, my interest was stirred by two women – Lydia (Acts 16) and Priscilla (Acts 18). In stark contrast to each other, a broad stroke is painted of how God uses every woman in all seasons and stages of life.
Lydia was a worshiper of God, a Gentile woman, successful in business. I find the details surrounding her intriguing, yet sparse. I have a lot of questions I’d like to ask about Lydia. We are told she was a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira. And so we assume, she was a wealthy woman. We are told she and the members of her household were baptized and so we deduce Lydia was either single or a widow.
As Paul and his entourage arrived at the riverbank just outside the city gate, they began to speak with a group of women.
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who 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 16:14, 15
Lydia’s heart opened in response to the gospel message. She and everyone in her household were baptized. And then, Lydia begins to put her spiritual gift into action. She offers hospitality to Paul and his companions. And, take note, she would not take no for an answer! As a successful business woman, she was persuasive and influential in the lives of those around her.
Paul continues on his missionary journey and he arrives in Corinth. Here he meets a Jewish couple, Aquila and Priscilla.
“There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla… Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tent-makers just as he was.” ~Acts 18:1-3
We can only imagine the teaching, instruction, and conversations these 3 shared during Paul’s stay in Corinth. The friendship grew and developed because when Paul set sail for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila traveled with him. When Paul moved on from Ephesus he left them there to minister among the new believers.
“Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” ~Acts 18:24-26
Paul had taught Priscilla and Aquila and now they were instructing Apollos. The time they spent with him was priceless because later Apollos continued to travel and teach that Jesus was the Christ. God used Priscilla to influence Apollos and his ongoing ministry.
In Acts, we have two examples of women – Lydia and Priscilla – who believed the gospel message and then put their faith into action. Each of these women benefited from the instruction of Paul and they grew in their understanding of God and the gospel message. But they didn’t stop there. Lydia and Priscilla lived out their faith so that others might know about Jesus and grow in personal faith.
How are you serving the Lord? Are you using your spiritual gifts to serve the body of Christ? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? As you continue to study the Word of God and grow in your personal walk with the Lord, take time to pray and ask Him how you might use your spiritual gifts to serve Him better.
If you would like to know more about what your spiritual gifts are, click here to go to the Wayside Chapel Spiritual Gifts Assessment.