Monday, September 5, 2011

The Choices We Make

Acts 19:21-27

Did you know that the porn industry makes billions of dollars each year?  I couldn't find any financial information that was consistent on how many billions; however, each report had a number in the billions of dollars.  That is a staggering and sobering number.  The online gambling industry also makes billions of dollars each year.  Unfortunately, not everyone that gambles online can afford to gamble online.  As I am preparing to study the book of Ephesians, I am reading through what the book of Acts tells us about Ephesus.  The section of scripture I am looking at today show what happened to an industry in Ephesus and throughout the region when people began to follow Christ.  Please turn to Acts 19:21-27.

Demetrius was a silversmith in Ephesus who made a living selling silver shrines of the goddess, Artemis.  He noticed that the church was beginning to cause lower sales and he decided to point this out to the other merchants in the area to stir things up against the church.  He explained that while their wealth and respect comes from their business, no one would want to see Artemis robbed of her prestige.  I have to stop and chuckle at his speech because the first thing out of his mouth was the wealth they achieved by their business.  But of course, Demetrius finally ended his speech on the importance of Artemis's prestige.  Remember, last week I looked at how the church experienced a cultural shift when they recognized the real power in Jesus' Name as opposed to using an incantation.  Suddenly, the church and others were realizing that there was real power in Christ.  They were no longer buying sorcery books or shrines to Artemis.

The church has a silent influence that I believe it often doesn't recognize because we are not always doing what we are supposed to do.  What would happen in our country if we quit buying materials that are against God's desire for us?  Years ago, politicians noticed the difference it makes when they began talking about issues that many Christians cared about.  Because they wanted the Christian vote, they would say things that the Christian voter wanted to hear.  This is not about influencing government or manipulating economics; this is just about doing what God has told us to do.  If every person who called themselves a Christian began to seek God's direction, would others notice?  I believe they would.  The early church wasn't attacking the makers of shrines to Artemis, they simply stopped contributing to their sales.  I'm not calling for boycotts against any company - I'm just saying if we are following God's direction it will make a difference.  This post isn't about finger pointing or discussing what you are buying or what you are watching.  I am saying that we will make a noticeable difference in our world (that doesn't always make others happy) when we follow God.

I ask you this question as much as I ask myself:  Am I following God in all the choices I make?

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