Good morning! Today’s verses are a discourse that we will cover over the next few days. In these verses we will read an example of someone’s livelihood being impacted by the truth of the Good News. Join me today as we continue our reading in Acts chapter nineteen.
“23 About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. 24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis.[e] He kept many craftsmen busy. 25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:
“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he’s done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! 27 Of course, I’m not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I’m also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”” – Acts 19:23-27 NLT
I never thought about the financial impact on businesses during the building of the church in Ephesus. It is certainly true, that as people begin to believe the Good News and put the truth into practice, the things they once desired, once worshipped, had in their home as decoration, and/or followed becomes less desirable when compared to living for Christ.
I remember one day as a teen, I was sitting on the couch watching television. My mom came home, she was wearing a pretty mauve colored dress, her makeup and hair was flawless. She walked into the kitchen, grabbed a trash bag and proceeded to throw away anything that looked like an idol. I heard her when I asked her what she was doing, but it took me some time to comprehend throwing away things that were gifts or were paid for. Today, I understand even more about what she was convicted by that very day. See in many ways, my mom was my Bible – she was the example of a Christian in my eye sight. What I learned and what we read in the word is that, when God is the only God in your life, there is no need to buy false gods or waste money on false statues that cannot save, heal, deliver, provide for or protect.
For ages throughout the Old Testament the things that got God’s people into trouble was their weakness for false gods. They wanted a golden calf because their leader Moses was taking too long to speak with God. Others lived among other idol worshippers and eventually turned away from God and worshipped false idols. God was always trying to bring them back into relationship with him. Praise God for Jesus, the Good News, an opportunity to believe, repent, turn away from things – the very things that separate us from God, and accept Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
In the case with Demetrius, the silversmith, he wasn’t really concerned with the message Paul was speaking, his concern was how it impacted him financially, and then pleaded his cause by dragging in religion (their worship of a goddess). Sisters and brothers, there is always a root behind the reason. When we hear and read things, we need to be mindful of the root before we begin to follow someone other than God, Jesus Christ, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Questions to ponder:
- How have you allowed other influences to distract you from God?
- What do you worship more than you worship God?
- Do you allow room for God/Jesus Christ in your business dealings? If so, what position/title did you give him (e.g., CEO, admin assistant, per-diem employee)?
- Do you allow your finances to dictate how you will serve God/Jesus?
Sisters and brothers, “handmade gods aren’t really gods at all,” choose today not to put any god/idol before God. Keep God in first place.
Father God we thank you for the things you have opened our eyes to see. We thank you for always coming after us. We thank you for your grace, mercy and continued love toward us. Lord, you have been so good to us. Lord, forgive us for turning away from you and worshipping other gods (knowingly and unknowingly). Lord, we desire to keep you first in our lives. We desire to have you reign over us. Lord, lead us and direct our steps. Lord, we pray for your children who are in places (e.g., homes, cities, countries, providences), where the Good News has been shutout, were idols and false gods are being worshipped, and where people are being tortured for their belief in the trinity – God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Lord, cover them, give them strength and continue to increase their faith. Lord, continue to give us a boldness of faith to stand on your word and share the Good News. Lord, heal the brokenhearted, sustain finances, comfort those who are grieving, give peace to those going into surgery this morning, heal those who have cancer, who are going through treatments, and who have been given a terminal diagnosis. Lord, we pray for those who are in hospice. Lord, comfort the family and friends. Lord, we don’t come to you as a genie where we ask for our greatest wish. Lord, we come to you with our requests because you have invited us to as believers. Lord, we trust you and we put all these things in your hands. In Jesus name, amen.
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