Women of influence need to be celebrated! Throughout the centuries and even the millenniums, men have dominated the leadership roles in most cultures. If we are to truly accept the premise that “leadership is influence”, we can’t ignore all the women of influence who have shaped history…not to mention those who have shaped our lives. The Apostle Paul had a woman of influence who was instrumental in helping him start the church at Philippi. Her little prayer meeting down by the river became one of the leading congregations of the early church.
On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She was baptized along with other members of her household, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed. (Acts 16:13-15 NLT)
Lydia was a sales woman and she used her talents to persuade Paul and Silas to stay at Philippi to teach her and her friends more about Jesus. They couldn’t resist. Lydia already had a small group of women she was leading by faith. She was in search of God and as a leader, took others with her on her journey. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Lydia did with her newfound faith, but I like to think she would have taken advantage of being a business woman on a major trade route. I imagine Lydia sharing her faith with vendors from all over the known world who made their way to Philippi.
For the women reading this, what unique platform has God given you to influence others? Are you making the most of the opportunity God has given you? For the men reading this, have you celebrated the women of influence in your life? If you are like me, you wouldn’t be where you are today without the influence of the great women God has placed in your life.
Take time today to celebrate the women of influence in your life and in your organization. Let them know what you’ve learned from them and how it has impacted your life and leadership. It’s far too easy to get consumed by performing the tasks that demand our time and attention. Stop! Look around you, celebrate the women who have blessed you and encouraged you along the way.
“The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, ‘Father, Your will for today is mine…You lead me today and I will follow.’” ~ Kay Arthur