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Acts 19:23-4 (NIV)
The Riot in Ephesus
23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case, we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
What began as Artemis-worship became Artemis-business. How can Christians fall into the same trap and make Jesus-worship into Jesus-business?
It is very easy for Jesus-worship to become Jesus-business because the heart of man is deceitful. Many Christian sects do have articles that worshippers ascribe much importance to. Those individuals sometimes feel owning those objects proves how Christian they are or gives them a sense of security, rather than committing their hearts or minds on the finished work of Christ.
Lord how easy it is to proclaim our love for you on a tee-shirt, or by how much money we give or even the radio station we listen to. It is easy to do those things and often it is even fun but I know that you ask me to live my life producing fruit for you. Our world today is not much different than Ephesus was in Paul’s time. The world tries to lure me with manmade gods of money, or power or status There are so many “voices” out there demanding that I pay attention to messages that give me easier ways to live, or better choices to be made. In my weakness, I can be confused and overwhelmed just like those people in Ephesus. Those voices distract me from seeking you and resting in your promises. I pray Lord for your spirit to guard my heart and mind against those things. Teach me not to look down on those who hold on to icons but help me to be able to share your freeing, powerful love with them. May your love and grace be evident in how I live my life so that I may glorify only you today and always. Amen
Today’s prayer was submitted by Jo Schneider