Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of July 27, 2008

Acts 19:24-27
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, this 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 magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”

Money is a great motivator. In a capitalistic free-enterprise society, money is the way we vote for the things we want to support. When there are problems in society or in families or in companies, often money is involved. We sometimes say, “It is always about the money!.” That was the case with Demetrius and sometimes I wonder if that is the case with those of us who say we are serving the Lord today.

We say that money isn’t everything, and it isn’t when you have a lot of it. But if you don’t have much and the house mortgage, the gas bill, the property taxes, the medical bills and the food bills are all coming due, then money is very important. Money represents a person’s worth in our society. Generally people of power and people that we consider successful have a lot of money.

Making silver shrines for Diana was a money maker for Demetrius. When Paul began explaining that faith in Christ was the only way to please God, he was putting Demetrius’ trade in Jeopardy. Whether Demetrius really thought the goddess Diana was “great” or not, he used that as his excuse to cause a riot and to try to stop the Christians from preaching against idols. It was all about the money.

I remember starting a business as a Certified Public Accountant in the years when you could not legally advertise. I was not known in the community where I was setting up the business so I was told that I should join the biggest church in town in order to get business. Instead I went to a little group that the Lord had led me to that was not even in town and was certainly not the popular place to go. Even I wondered if I was going to survive by doing what I was convinced the Lord wanted me to do. I found out later that some of my clients came to me because I was not going to the big church in town. They wanted their information kept confidential and since I didn’t go to that church and hadn’t joined all the social groups in town, they figured that I probably wasn’t going to be telling the locals about their business. I would probably have gone broke if it had been all about the money.

As I observe churches and the work of the Lord, I find that an awfully lot is about the money. Religion has become big business. Bible versions and edited Bibles multiply because there is money to be made in them. Publishing religious literature can be a big business. Concerts and conferences are promoted just like they were businesses. I wonder what the Lord thinks about the business aspects of the free Gospel today. I know that there are many people in the business of preaching the Gospel that are doing it out of love for the Lord rather than out of the love of money, but how would we know that if their ministries and churches are all about the money?

I am told that if we went back to the Biblical model where the Gospel was always provided freely and where the unsaved were not knowingly being solicited for funds, that we couldn’t do the work of the Lord today. However, I think the Biblical model still works. Using it would eliminate the doubt as to whether we are doing what we do because it is profitable or whether we are doing what we do because we really do worship the Lord. We don’t want to be like Demetrius where it was all about the money.

Bruce Collins

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