Monday, July 4, 2016
About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy. 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. 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! 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)
It is said that wherever he went the Apostle started either a riot or revival. I tend to think both are related; you can’t have a genuine revival without someone else thinking it’s a riot. At the very least someone will be disturbed enough at the revival to start a riot!
But there’s one other riot/revival relationship; a genuine revival of a personal nature will not happen without a riot that disturbs your soul.
In Paul’s case, the personal riot that started his personal revival was meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. It turned his thoughts and his world upside-down (not to mention his eyesight).
Demetrius had something of the same when Paul came to town. From his speech to the craftsmen it is obvious Demetrius had done his homework on Paul, finding out how much trouble accompanied his preaching of the Gospel. Had this silversmith not been so heavily-invested in the religious market, Demetrius may have just ignored Paul.
But Paul’s success meant Demetrius’ business was going to take a hit, and that was unacceptable. Demetrius wanted business as usual and that meant the Gospel (and its preacher) had to go!
Isn’t that always the way?
I’m thinking we see that often in government, business and churches. When it comes to business as usual, we don’t want to let God get in the way. Deals made in the back rooms of organizations are committed to holding on to power, prestige and the comfort of keeping things the same.
Paying attention to what drives government, business and those in charge will tell you what usual business people are trying to keep going. Much of it isn’t pretty.
But paying attention can also lead you to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for His creation, and that’s worth the look.
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[i] Title Image: By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons