I have learned a lot this week preparing my lesson. Preparation is important. It helps the teacher be able to adapt the lesson to the needs of the students and be able to adjust the order of the lesson as needed and add or delete concepts as the lesson moves along. I've been a teacher many years. It is something I love to do and I am grateful when I am blessed with the privilege of doing so.
Sarah was in my lesson today. She snapped this picture of me from the corner of the room. As you can see, I wore purple. :) Several other sisters did as well adding to my gratitude for all the things I learned this week. I guess the teacher always learns the most, as they say.
Below is a copy of the handout I gave to the women in Relief Society of what I learned this week about Lydia. I think I will long remember her good example of Christian service and try to emulate it. I hope the women in my relief Society will remember it as well.
Teaching Relief Society
Seller of Purple
Seller of Purple
Acts 16: 13-15, 40 (AD 50) Paul was called to preach to Macedonia by vision. He went to Philippi. There was no synagogue there and no Christians. On the Sabbath, he located a place where people went to pray. It was by the river. There he found a group of women praying. Read the scripture.
Lydia was from Thyatira (Turkey) where purple was made. Purple was a symbol of political power. It was the color of the Roman elite. The emperor wore purple as a status symbol. Purple was associated with high social rank and wealth. The dye to make purple was made from the juice found in minute quantities of shellfish (mollusks). It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth. Purple for the cloth was very expensive.
Although Lydia was from Thyatira, she moved to Philippi. She was a business women. She was very wealthy. She routinely dealt with worldly things such as providing purple for the elite. She had a household…servants, etc. She was also a woman of God. God “opened her heart.” When she heard Paul and Silas preach, she accepted Christ and she and her household were baptized. So she was also a missionary.
Lydia intreated Paul and Silas, servants of God, to stay in her home. She convinced them. After they had been beaten with many stripes, had their feet in stocks and imprisoned and then set free, they returned to her home and found comfort there. It was a place prepared by God for their comfort. She urged them to stay with her. In essence she said, “I want to serve, I want to give, I want to help, I want to ease your burden.” She dealt with the world, yet she served God.
The Philippians were good people who heard of Paul being in prison in Rome 10 years after he taught them the gospel. For many years they had sent him gifts and provisions when no one else would. They also sent him things in the prison in Rome to sustain him. He loved them. His letter to the Philippians written from the prison in Rome was a letter of love, counsel, and gratitude to them. He taught them the principles of Zion and told them that some had their names written in the book of life. Lydia was a Philippian.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” Phil 1:3,5
“…those women which laboured with me in the gospel…whose names are in the book of life.” Phil 4:3
For those of you who feel you have no gifts, nothing much to give to others and don’t know how to serve God and others sometimes…have “an open heart” like Lydia and let the Lord show you what you do have to give. Lydia used what God gave her to be a blessing to others and to do good to/for them. She used her time and talents to help others. What DO YOU have to give to others? Lydia opened her heart and her home to serve Christ. How can your heart and your home be used to serve Christ?
When you see purple…think of “the spirit of charity.” Ask: What has God given me today that I can use to be a blessing in someone else’s life and do good to/for them?