“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,”
There is great financial gain in many avenues of life, some in sin and some in labor; both have one often common characteristic… distraction. There were two such women in the book of Acts 16 and both have a story of financial freedom. Lydia, merchant in the city of Thyatira was “all that and a bag of chips” as the saying goes, she worshipped God and was a successful woman in the textile industry. And then came Paul! and all of a sudden it was no longer about selling purple fabric but about serving Christ. It’s an oddity to the world how a person can walk away from what they view as success and begin serving the Lord. Lydia’s finances had no doubt brought her freedoms that few women in that era would have been afforded; but her focus changed when the Lord opened her heart to see what great freedom serving Christ brought. Lydia experienced the greatest freedom any woman could have… the freedom that seeing your family serve Christ and the knowledge that come what may, their souls are in the hands of the Master.
And then there was the woman without a name, who through her demon possession was taken advantage of and used as money making scheme by wicked men. Men who were VERY upset, when at Paul’s command in the name of Jesus de-demonized her and she experienced the freedom of deliverance from the financial bondage those men had over her life. On both ends of the spectrum, from the poverty to powerful the same holds true with regards to money… If you’re not using what you have for the glory of God, then you’ll not receive the full blessing of it. When Lydia opened her heart to the things of God, it didn’t say she stopped selling purple, but I have a feeling her purple peddling priorities changed. When the lady possessed with the demon was healed her words that had once distracted those delivering the gospel now focused those who witnessed her healing onto the glory of God!
Luke 16:13 says that “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
I’m getting a firmer grasp on that… unfocused finances are a distraction. Lydia opened up her home and began focusing her financial gain on the things of the Lord and she her household were baptized. Wow. The unnamed lady was no longer a tool in the hands of the Devil but was now a weapon in the warfare, and people were angry. Can I tell you if you’re finances are serving Satan, there’s going to be some unhappy people when you stop. But oh the gain! What about your finances? Are they Christ focused or world centered? Are you asking God what He wants you to do with your gain? Are you allowing your finances to be used in non-glorifying ways? Heavy questions, but worth pondering.