Thursday, July 14, 2016
Lydia - a successful executive and a passionate Christian
We've seen so far that Lydia was a very successful business woman. We've seen why -- she was very diligent and worked hard. We're going to see that she was also diligent at something else . . . her faith.
Lydia has shown us that she was industrious at providing for her family's material needs. She also provided for the spiritual health of her family. With everything else that she has going on, where is she when the Sabbath comes? Is she in front of a ledger, tallying sales for the week? Is she sitting in the local cafe, talking with a new customer? Nope.
She is at the bank of the river, worshiping. She worked for six days, and reserved the seventh day for God. And she doesn't stop there. When the Spirit calls to her, and she puts her faith in the Christ that Paul tells her about, she responds by giving. She opens her home to a couple of missionaries; she provides them shelter and food, and other provisions they might need. In the latter half of the chapter, Paul and Silas are released from jail, and they return to Lydia's house because it is now the center of Christian activity in Philippi. In fact, the verse notes that there are now "brothers and sisters" in that fledgling church. What an influence Lydia had!
Remember that verse in Revelation 2? There is a reference there to a church in Thyatira. Hmmm. Paul never traveled there -- but there is a church . . . maybe it's because Lydia went back to her headquarters and began to share her faith there! She did not have a great call on her life, like Paul did, but she nevertheless used what she had for God: her home, her money, her business acumen, and her witness. What an example for us!
Are we diligent in the things of the Spirit, as Lydia was? Do we work for six days and give the seventh to our Lord? I wonder if we can do even more . . . can we look at our "leisure time" and find things that will further God's kingdom? If we are in a time crunch, we can take baby steps. Lydia opened her home to Paul and Silas -- if that is too much to fit in with our family responsibilities, perhaps we can open our home to a monthly meeting for prayer or study. Lydia used her finances for missions -- perhaps if we have money left over at the end of the month, we can do that same. Lydia witnessed in her workplace for the Lord -- we can definitely do that!
Lastly, we can see that Lydia was able to be a successful executive and a passionate believer because she had a very balanced life. She was able to "juggle" all of the important things, because she had her priorities straight! We must be able to balance God, our families, and our work.
How can we see this in Lydia's life? Well, look back at the verses . . . she is "on the road" instead of in her home base of Thyatira, right? Where is her family, as she is in Philippi? They are right there with her! It says that her entire family is there and is baptized with her. So, Lydia made certain that she could be there for her family, by taking them with her! She used a creative solution to make sure that she could be as devoted to them as possible. That was how she balanced God, family, and work!
We can make time for our families in creative ways, too. As a personal note, we accompanied my hubby on many trips when the kids were small. While he was busy, we would sightsee (parks and museums are inexpensive!) and when he was finished for the day, we could share family time and adventures!
It's not a bad idea to really take a look at our own lives. Do we have time for the important things? Especially God, our family, and the work that we do? (Doesn't have to be work outside the home, either.) Is there anything out of balance? If there is, we can expect to see problems in our health, our family relationships, or in our relationship with our Father God.
If we see that things are out of balance, what can we do? Maybe one helpful thing is to simplify!
Accept the fact that our house will not always be meticulously clean. Declutter our homes so that we have an easier time doing that cleaning. Divide up the chores, so that everyone is helping.
Accept that the meals will not always be three courses with every color represented, but they will be nutritious and presented with love and laughter.
Accept the fact that we may not always be able to get all of our family together for a "family altar," but we can make available resources that can fill in, from time to time. Purchase an audio Bible set, or a study notebook for each one. Bring those to the times that we can all gather, and compare notes and blessings.
Accept the fact that we can't do it all -- give a close look to clubs and organizations, and narrow them down to a few, so that we aren't stressed out running here and there.
Whether men or women, we can find Lydia to be an excellent example. She was a successful business woman and a passionate Christian, too. We can follow her lead: be diligent, be devoted to God and family, and keep things balanced. This is a formula that God can bless!