“This is no mere local matter—the whole world worships our Artemis!” Acts 19:27
Demetrius, a silversmith in Ephesus, had a successful business manufacturing shrines to the goddess Artemis. Many artisans depended on his business to make a living. Paul came along and began to convert people to Christianity, creating a slump in sales. Demetrius called a staff meeting and said, “Men, you well know that we have a good thing going here—and you’ve seen how Paul has barged in and discredited what we’re doing by telling people that there’s no such thing as a god made with hands.” (vs.25-27)
Wendell Potter, a former public relations expert in the insurance industry, wrote a book titled Deadly Spin: Insider Speaks out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. (2010). Years ago, I saw Potter interviewed on a PBS show. He told how he believed in his job until the day he observed a free health clinic where hundreds of sick people stood in line to receive care. His conscience would no longer allow him to take a paycheck from a company with the mission to put profit over payout of claims. He quit his job and exposed the true nature of the company.
Somewhere along the company’s history, they went from serving people to idolizing the “almighty dollar.” Just as Demetrius gathered his people together to talk about their situation, one can image the first meeting of the CEO, board members, and executives of the insurance company after Potter’s book was released.
Dear Lord, forgive us when we use idols for profit. Amen.