Paul is making travel plans. Currently in the city of Ephesus in Asia (today Turkey), he sends Timothy and Erastus ahead to Macedonia (northern Greece). He plans to meet up with them and travel south to Achaia (Corinth) and then back across the Med to Jerusalem. This will complete this trip but he is already considering his next venture that will take him to Rome. (I have to keep looking for maps to see where he really was. Here’s a good one. http://bit.ly/1zBmMA2)
So, during all this travel planning there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. (This does not mean “the way” as in which way to go but “The Way”, as in what the church is being called. You know, like Jesus saying, “I AM the Way”. Anyway, cool nickname.)
I love it when the ESV calls it “no little disturbance” rather than “there was this huge uproar.” Of course where there is Paul there is often “no little disturbance” nearby.
In this case Demetrius, a silversmith is recognizing that as the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19:20) his business making silver shrines of Artemis was in danger. He decides to unionize and calls together all the local tradesmen who might have the same problem.
“Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this 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 (or Diana – daughter of Zeus, sister of Apollo) may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”
Demetrius has a pretty convincing argument. “People – this is where we get our money!“
I can relate. I’m inclined to spend no small amount of time dreaming of success for the guy who writes our paycheck or our stocks to triple. Regardless of my beliefs I have a deep seated dependency on the currency of my culture – money is the most obvious but there are other demi-gods too numerous to name.
Now I’m going to say something crazy here. We are fortunate – some events came hurtling into our lives and crushed that misconception – the one that says our money (health, connections, ability, blah, blah, blah) is what sustains us.
It was a shocking moment of realignment thinking and I can’t go back. Not to say I don’t go back but I can’t stay there. Those former idols have been exposed and now they seem so fragile. The Holy Spirit gently reminds me “Those puny things can’t hold you up…come over here and stand on The Rock!”
He is the source of Life and the Provider of all good things.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:20-21
About the World?
Real security is found in the One who loves you.