We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If You have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
One of my favorite biblical merchants is a woman named Lydia. She was a worshiper of God. She dealt in purple cloth (a very expensive product, due to the difficult process of obtaining purple dye). And upon hearing the Good News about Jesus from the lips of Paul, she believed and had her whole household baptized. God blessed this woman of commerce.
On Black Friday, when lots of our attention is focused on buying and selling, we may wish to pray for everyone involved in commerce. In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find these prayers “For Those Who Manufacture and Sell” and “For Those in Business and Commerce.” I’ve taken a little liberty to combine them for a prayer for us to pray today – on Black Friday.
Great God, You keep us going and give us energy to get things done. Thank You for men and women in industry, who work in factories and offices, and cover territories. Let their work contribute to a better world, where neighbors will take time to love one another. Watch over the ways of business, so that those who buy or sell may live justly and show mercy and walk in Your ways. In our dealings with others may we display fairness and true charity; through Jesus Christ, who loved us with mercy. Amen.