Emily Belle Freeman



A Seller of Purple

Acts 14:15 - Acts 18:9

The book of Acts includes two verses about a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple.

We don’t know much about Lydia.  The scriptures simply tell us that she was a woman who worshipped God.

One Sabbath day Paul and Timothy, two disciples of the Lord, went to preach at a river where the people had gathered to pray.

I like to imagine that it was a summer afternoon, and I can picture Lydia sitting by the riverside and listened to the men teach.  As she listened an important thing happened ––the Lord opened her heart, and she found herself paying attention to what Paul was talking about.

Lydia believed everything Paul taught her and decided to be baptized.

From the scriptural account we are led to believe that she was someone others looked up to, because her whole household followed her example, and they were also baptized.

After she was baptized Lydia offered her home as a place where the disciples could come and stay. Because she was faithful to the Lord we can imagine what her home must have been like, and we know from the scriptures that it became a place where the disciples would gather for refuge and for relief because they felt comfortable there.

From these two verses we begin to realize that somehow Lydia had left her mark ––others were lifted by her example and felt comfortable to be with her because they judged her to be faithful. (Acts16:14)

I have no idea what it means to be a seller of purple.

But I do know that Lydia came from a city that exported purple dye, a highly prized item in this period of history. From her title it seems that Lydia must have been part of this dye industry.

Perhaps she was someone who worked in the art of dying clothing purple.

I like to think that may have been the case, because the dye would have certainly left a mark on her hands, a purple reminder of who she was ––a seller of purple.

As a Young Woman, I learned about the value integrity, which is represented by the color purple.  We can learn much about integrity from Lydia, the seller of purple.

She was a woman whose heart was open.

She knew how important it was to pay attention to what she was taught, and to live that example.

Because of her example others were led to believe in the Lord.

We also know that her home was a place that was filled with a welcoming spirit, a place where the believers loved to gather.

Perhaps each of us could think of ourselves as a seller of purple, just like Lydia.  What we have to offer is our integrity, and hopefully it will leave a mark on us, and on everyone we meet.


Emily Freeman