A business woman—Lydia—and her family received great blessings on the Sabbath day. The environment, the actions, and the results in Lydia’s family occurred because of the preaching of the gospel on the Sabbath day. As we consider Lydia, the seller of purple, let us analyze three aspects of the Sabbath and its impact on modern families.
I. ADEQUATE TIME AND PLACE FOR WORSHIP
Paul mentions that they had gathered by the riverside where “prayer was customarily made.” That means it was a habit for the group of believers to gather in that place on Sabbath. It is probable that this group of faithful people did not have a specific place (temple or synagogue) to gather, but they had chosen an environment in which they could worship God.
Lydia, a woman dedicated to her business, certainly waited anxiously for the moment when she could withdraw from her daily worries and, together with her family, enjoy that exclusive time to meet with her Creator. She surely faced the same challenges that parents face today: too much to do and too little time for their spouse and children.
Ellen G. White affirms that “much of this time parents should spend with their children,”1 and “happy the father and mother who can teach their children God’s written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature; who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh, pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above.”2
II. THE FUNCTION AND HOLINESS OF SABBATH
Sabbath was instituted by God with a definite purpose: communion with His creatures. On this special day, the act of ceasing work is related to the divine blessing derived from the intrinsic holiness given by God to that day only.
We are told that Lydia, along with her family, worshipped God on the Sabbath. Also, she was joined by other women who were there to listen to God’s Word. We can learn three important lessons from this:
A. Paul and his team, as ministers of God, were there by the Holy Spirit’s Acts 16:13-15 order, to share the gospel truths (Acts 16:6-10).
B. Lydia, her family, and the other women were accustomed to gathering together to worship God on His holy day.
C. We have a moral obligation to worship together, in a place of worship, to recognize that we belong to a special body of believers that keeps the commandments of God in the last days of human history. This is a basic principle that no Seventh-day Adventist family should disregard.
Parents are in charge of helping their children form good habits, and one of these habits is to place God first in their lives. Children need to learn that Sabbath is a holy time that does not belong to them; Sabbath is God’s exclusive property.
We live in a time of moral relativism, when young people are searching for assurance. As they realize that their parents “practice what they preach,” children will feel secure in the values taught at home. And one of the most important values is the Sabbath.
III. FAITHFULNESS PRODUCES RESULTS
The Bible mentions that Lydia and her family were baptized that Sabbath. Although we don’t know much about Lydia’s family, we know that they received the blessing of a new birth.
Also, it is important to note that Lydia’s family shared their faith. This should not be an isolated fact; Lydia is a great example of someone who, after receiving God, went out and shared Him with others. She possessed these three character traits:
A. Faithfulness. As a proof of the faith she professed, she kept her usual weekly meeting with the Creator.
B. Sensible to God’s voice. The Bible shows us that by listening to the gospel message, Lydia allowed God to open her heart.
C. Hospitable. She opened the door of her home to receive the ones sent by God. Her home was converted into a place of refuge for the believers in her city (verse 40).
Today, twenty centuries later, circumstances have changed for families. We have divided families, family members who do not share the same faith, and, in some cases, families who are hostile toward religion. How can we achieve family unity in times of crisis? How do we share Christ’s love with our children and spouse?
Lydia’s experience teaches us that in a vital relationship with God and the Sabbath, this solid bond of love will help fight the multiple attacks of the modern world. Do you wish to see your family victorious in the fight against today’s challenges? With your example of faithfulness on Sabbath, are you helping your family to become citizens of God’s kingdom?
1 Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, 532.
2 ———, Education, 251
Heber Pinheiro is dean of the theological seminary at the Bolivia Adventist University in Cochabamba, Bolivia.