Setting sail from Troas, the team comes to Philippi via Samothrace and Neapolis. Philippi had a rich Roman and military history and is described by Luke as a leading city of the district of Macedonia ¹.
Thinking sensibly and astutely, the team heads to the riverside on the Sabbath, supposing they would find a place of prayer. Praying at the river means that there wasn’t a recognised synagogue in town, which means there wasn’t the quorum of ten Jewish men. Even when details differed, Paul and team stuck to the plan (Romans 1.16).
We read that one who heard [them] was a woman named Lydia…a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. Dealing in luxury goods, Lydia was therefore most probably well known and well thought-of in Philippi. As the team shared the Good News with those gathered (v.13) the Lord opened her heart to pay attention (cf. John 6.44). Belief prompts her to action and she was baptised, and her household as well. Not content with the personal act of being baptised, she then insists that the travelling team stay at her house (v.15).
Lydia is such a good example of the action that should come when we believe. First, there is the personal declaration of the inward change that has happened: baptism. Then there is the desire to be involved with the Lord’s work.
For Lydia here that was shown in her hospitality. For you and for me, it may well be different. It might be hospitality, it might be service, teaching, music, prayer, paperwork, technology, or a whole host of other things. Whatever the opportunity is, there will certainly be one for you to get involved with in your local expression of the church.
¹ – Try Philippians: Day by Day for more about the community here!