S (Scripture): Acts 19:23 At that time a great disturbance took place concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought a great deal of business to the craftsmen. 25 He gathered these together, along with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this business. 26 And you see and hear that this Paul has persuaded and turned away a large crowd, not only in Ephesus but in practically all of the province of Asia, by saying that gods made by hands are not gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that this business of ours will come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be regarded as nothing, and she whom all the province of Asia and the world worship will suffer the loss of her greatness.”
28 When they heard this they became enraged and began to shout, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The city was filled with the uproar, and the crowd rushed to the theater together, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, the Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 30 But when Paul wanted to enter the public assembly, the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the provincial authorities who were his friends sent a message to him, urging him not to venture into the theater.
O (Observation): Paul’s ministry has become more and more a problem for a world worshipping gods other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus. And now it’s hitting them where it hurts: their wallets!
By discrediting the metal idols used to worship Artemis – and Artemis herself – Paul is effectively putting the metal workers and Artemis’ priests out of a job.
A (Application): Martin Luther once said a person needs 3 conversions: of heart, of mind, and of wallet.
While this points to money as a god, this text and my thoughts today go way beyond stewardship of money. Following God will wreck and re-build your understanding of finances, for sure, but the changes run way deeper than money.
Demetrius talks about how their livelihood is in danger, that their “prosperity comes from this business.” In other words, their lives are centered on this practice of supporting Artemis.
While we don’t have an issue with people in the U.S. worshipping Artemis, we do tend worship the idol of “Safety and Security” (a la the recent Refugee Ban and building a Wall). At all costs, we must protect ourselves. We must fear what we don’t know. “Well, you never know…” Or “we don’t want those people coming in, because they could be terrororists.”
Over and over again, we worry for our lives, and safety and security. I have a deep respect for the people and processes in place to protect us, and yet I think we can also tell the world that in the U.S. we are happy to welcome those fleeing persecution, or those wishing to live out a new dream and a fresh start.
In my sermon yesterday, I challenged our worshippers to think about how they would use $5.5 million to pay for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, which would show how – as humans – our goal is to build bridges and relationships. Well, to my surprise, 3 commercials did just that last night.
Here they are. Enjoy. And bravo to Anheuser-Busch, 84Lumber and Airbnb for their commercials from last night that encourage the building of bridges and relationships. These are stories of refugees seeking new starts in our country, or simply to know that we all belong. These are the American values I have grown to love and embrace.
Click the links below to see the commercials:
And to be honest, I really love what Hyundai did to support some troops who are overseas. Check out this show of support. Wonderful:
P.s. Here’s a story of how Anheuser-Bush is sending an emergency supply of 50,000 cans of water to aid relief workers in Mississippi, who are cleaning up after tornadoes struck various locations in that state.
P (Prayer): Lord, make us wise enough to thank those who put themselves in harm’s way, and to also put our ultimate Safety and Security in you. Amen.