Philippi was a Roman colony and an important city in Macedonia, seen as the gate to Europe for trade and commerce, but when it came to the gospel moving into Europe it was a woman named Lydia who was the gateway. Paul and the team made their way to Macedonia, convinced that they needed to share the gospel after Paul had had a vision of a Macedonian man pleading, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (Acts 16:9). Because there was no synagogue, the team went to the river, known to be a place of prayer.

Lydia was a dealer in expensive purple cloth, a successful businesswoman with a household that included servants. But for all her success, there was an emptiness that led her to the river’s edge. There she met Paul and heard the gospel for the first time, becoming the first convert in Europe. So Lydia (and members of her household) was baptized. But she doesn’t stop there. Lydia is bold and persuades the apostolic team to make her home their base, and when they leave, Lydia’s home becomes the first home of the Philippian church (Acts 16:40).

Jo Saxton is the author of More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World. Taken from More Than Enchanting by Jo Saxton. Copyright Second Edition (c) 2016 by Jo Saxton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.