Seven Magnificent Mothers (Part 5)

This week, leading up to Mother’s Day, we are looking at Seven Magnificent Mothers from scripture who exhibited characteristics to be admired, imitated, and praised.

momMagnificent Mother #5: The Businesswoman

Our fifth “magnificent mother” comes to us from the New Testament.  We are going to call her “The Businesswoman”.  We meet this working mother in Acts chapter 16 where Paul is staying in the city of Philippi.  Paul and Silas head down to a riverbank outside the city where some believers were to gather for a Saturday prayer meeting.  There they meet Lydia, who was a businesswoman – a merchant of expensive purple cloth.

There are some in the church who tend to frown on women who work outside the home, and there has been research that shows that women who work outside the home feel somewhat looked down upon within the church, but we see here in Lydia an example of a woman who is a believer, who has a family, and who has her own textile business.  In fact, Scripture says Lydia was from Thyatira, which was 250 miles from Philippi, so she was really an international businesswoman, a mother, and a Christian.

Not only is Lydia an example of the “working mother”, but Proverbs 31, the well-known “virtuous woman” chapter, praises the woman who is an entrepreneur.  Verses 16-17 say, “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”  That, I think, describes Lydia very well.

Here, though, is the great thing about Lydia:  when she becomes a believer, she uses her hard-earned wealth to support God’s people.  She opens her home to Paul and Silas, and her home becomes the base of operation for the believers in Philippi.  The Philippian church becomes one of the strongest of the early New Testament churches.

In Revelation 2 there is a reference to the church in Thyatira.  There is no evidence from Scripture that Paul ever went to Thyatira, and yet there is a church there in that pagan city.  Could it be that Lydia, the international businesswoman, brought her faith with her back to her hometown?

~ Matt Kinnell,
NHIM Board Chair

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