Thoughts for the Day

Tuesday, 26th September 2023: What is important?

Acts 19 Paul Money God Belief

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 19

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About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans in Ephesus. These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, ‘Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by 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 will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.’

When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travelling-companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theatre. For about two hours all of the people shouted in unison, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ But when the town clerk had quietened the crowd, he said, ‘Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven. Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither temple-robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Recently we looked at Apollos the man who had only heard of the Baptism of John, and who's thinking was corrected by Priscilla and Aquila (Different Baptisms). After he leaves Ephesus Paul arrives, having found others who had not received the Holy Spirit.

At this time in the early Church people are beginning to call this movement 'The Way of the Lord' and it's spreading fast, so fast that the silversmiths who make items for visitors to the Temple of Artemis are afraid they will lose their trade. They manage to whip up enormous opposition, and not finding Paul (who is kept back by friends) they drag his companions along with them. The riot that ensues is only put down because the town clerk is more worried about what the Romans authorities will do if there is unrest.

To the artisans what is important is that they continue to make and sell their silver pagan artefacts. To the town clerk what is important is that the Romans should not crush the mob and remove him from his post. To Paul what is important is to speak to the crowd and explain the Gospel and try to rescue his companions.

Today, we too are often faced with difficult decisions where our faith clashes with the life of our world. We too need to examine our motives for the actions we take, and be really honest about them.


You know how difficult it is for us
to make decisions over what is important,
between our faith, our family, and our country.
Help us to put You and our faith first,
so that other things will slot into place.
Help us to have the courage
to stand out against the crowd
when our conscience says they are wrong,
and always to ask Your guidance first.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at this article:

Or, if you would like to find out more about the temple of Artemis, look here:

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