While Paul was in Ephesus, a silversmith named Demetrius stirred the people up against the Christians. The silversmiths made a great deal of money (“no small gain” – v.24) by selling silver shrines of the city’s patron goddess Diana. The Christian teaching against idolatry was hurting their profit. The Ephesians assembled at the theater and for two hours shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (v.34). Only the quick thinking of the town clerk averted a disaster.
Perhaps nothing stirs up a people more than the fear that they are going to lose some position or possession. The Philippian masters of the fortune-telling damsel turned against Paul when they saw that “the hope of their gains was gone” (Acts 16:19). The Jewish leaders crucified Jesus from fear that they might lose their “place and nation” (John 11:48).
Check out today’s news. In what ways are people acting on this fear of loss today? People desire gain and fear its loss. How do these motives keep people from accepting Jesus as their Saviour? How do they keep Christians from serving Christ? How does God overcome these motives? What would you say to someone who was hindered from salvation or faithful service by these motives?