Hitting Where It Hurts
Some years ago, I had the chance to visit Turkey and see the remains of the city of Ephesus. To this day there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of statues of an ancient goddess named Artemis. During the days the Apostle Paul was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Ephesus, he really made some folks mad. It appears they didn’t mind him preaching about “his” God, but when he went so far as to tell people that Artemis was just a made-up god, they wanted to kill him. Was it because they loved their goddess? I think not! They played it off that way, but the real reason was that making little silver Artemis statues was how they made a living–it was how they fed their families! Ancient as it is, it seems to me that same motive keeps plenty of folks away from a relationship with the God that made them. Many don’t want to give up what they do for a living–or better said, they don’t want to give up the money they make from what they do for a living. What’s even worse, I’ve met plenty of Christians that have some of the most ungodly jobs you can imagine, but somehow in their minds they separate what they do for a living with their trip to church on Sunday morning. God is not impressed with any of these motives, or any of the multitude of rationalized reasons for dragging His Son’s name through the mud.
“About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way [gospel of Jesus Christ]. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: ‘Men, you know we receive a good income from the business. 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 man-made gods are no gods at all [imagine that!]. 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.'” Acts 19:23-27