We return to the Acts narrative, where Paul has been for some time in Ephesus and is now planning to go through Macedonia, Achaia, and on to Jerusalem (Acts 19:21-22). Something happens that accelerates his timetable. “About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way”(Acts 19:23). Luke’s use of “the Way” to describe Christianity may refer to Jesus’ statement about the hard way (Matt 7:14) or his insistence that he is “the way, the truth, and the life”(John 14:6).
The disturbance is led by Demetrius, an Ephesian silversmith who makes shrines of Artemis. Luke adds that he “brought no little business to the craftsmen” and that he says that “from this business we have our wealth”(Acts 19:24, 25). Demetrius rallies a number of workers to voice his concern about Paul. Paul “has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship”(Acts 19:26-27). To Demetrius, Paul is not a religious threat, but an economic one. He stokes fears that not only will they lose their jobs, but Ephesus (where the famous temple of Artemis is located) will lose renown.
Economic threats often make us fearful and harsh. We can view those who will take our money as less than human. Panic spreads. In this text, it is clear that Demetrius is overstating the nature of the problem and allowing it to influence his judgment about Paul. It is important for Christians to remember that there are things more important than money—or the threat of losing it.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I get overly angry, frustrated, or upset when I know I will lose some of my money?
One Thing to Pray For: Deeper awareness that people matter more than money
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