If you really want to upset people, threaten their economic situation. A bad economic picture scares most people and gets politicians voted out of office. In the 1st century, the threat of a downturn nearly got the apostle Paul kicked out of Ephesus.
Here's what happened. Paul came to town "and he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God" (Acts 19:8). For more than two years he shared the gospel, and many began following Jesus.
Paul was successful in getting people to see that there is only one true God. Apparently many Ephesians stopped worshiping the goddess Diana. This was terrible news for the local silversmiths, who made their living creating and selling Diana statuettes. If enough people stopped believing in her, their business would dry up. There was a commotion and an uproar when the craftsmen figured this out.
"For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: 'Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, thsi Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificance destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.'" (Acts19:24-27).
This incident should remind us to evaluate our reasons for worshiping God. The silversmiths wanted to protect their worship as a way of protecting their prosperity. Surely we can see that it isn't acceptable to alter our worship for any worldly reason! Our worship must ONLY be determined by God's Word (2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jno. 4:24). Should it change because it could be more accepted, popular, or fun?!
We worship God because of His love for us and because of Who He is, not because loving Him can help our bottom line, make us more popular or help us "fit in" better. Let's worship God the right way, the way that He has determined!
By Shane Williams in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 13, No. 8, Jan. 2012.
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