There are times faith in Jesus will require difficult choices that may affect your livelihood. In Acts 19:23-41, there is a “man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen (verse 24, NASB).” It’s a pretty good racket. People come to worship at the temple of the idol Artemis and the silversmiths make shrines to sell. All was good for them until Paul came along.
Demetrius sees Paul converting people to Jesus and deserting idol worship. That’s a problem if you’re making idol shrines. He gathers together workman from similar trades and addresses the group: “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all (25-26).”
Instead of giving Jesus a fair hearing, the group realizes their livelihood is threatened and they “were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia (28-29).” The crowd is close to rioting until the town clerk addresses the crowd, telling them to take their complaint to the courts. “For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess (37).”
How would you react if your livelihood, your source of income was threatened by faith in Jesus? Would you give Jesus a fair hearing or would you simply join the crowd to protest? Would you try to learn why people are following Jesus and deserting idol worship or would you race to protect your income. If you already follow Jesus, are you ready to give Him priority in your life over your selfish pursuits?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? – Matthew 16:25-26 (NASB)
© 2022, Chris G Thelen