Psalm 13-15 Acts 19:21-41
“And during that time, there was some serious trouble in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus.” (Acts 19:23 NCV)
Paul prepared to go back to Jerusalem, but he wanted to visit the churches in Macedonia before he did that. He sent his forward team, Timothy and Erastus, to prepare the way in Macedonia while he cleaned up loose ends in Ephesus. Then, after almost 2 years in Ephesus, the riot broke out. While the riot was ostensibly about the Christian faith substituting for the Ephesian practice of worshiping Artemis, those who instigated the riot were people who made a living selling silver icons of the goddess. In short, the gospel can be bad for the economy. At least the economy of people who prey on others.
Religion can be a lucrative business. Sometimes people use false religions to make money. They sell idols, or the accoutrements needed to practice these false religions. Sometimes people use the gospel of Jesus Christ to become rich. People who are trying to be faithful to God will give to preachers whose sole desire, or so it seems, is the accumulation of wealth. Here’s a hint: if people start talking about a pastor or a preacher in terms of their “net worth,” there may be a problem. Not everyone who makes a lot of money, preacher or not, has the spiritual gift of giving, but if the church and the world looks at you and their first thought is about how much you’re worth, you’ve missed the point. Jesus advised giving wealth away and using it for kingdom purposes. If you’ve got a net worth in the millions of dollars you may have missed that memo. If a preacher or teacher of the gospel has a net worth in that neighborhood, they’ve ignored a clear teaching of Jesus. Maybe we ought to look at a new standard of being rich in the Kingdom of God. Maybe we should look not to “accumulated wealth” as our measure of net worth; perhaps we should look at how much people have given to help others. And you can help model that. Once you’ve supported your church, find another ministry that helps people and give a little bit more to help them. Begin a life long habit of giving to meet the needs of others knowing that God commands us to care for others much more than He calls us to accumulate wealth of any kind.
Lord, give me a hear to give to help others. Help me be wise in that giving as I commit to being obedient to You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved