A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. (Acts 19:24-26)
Warren Wiersbe stated, “Wherever you find superstition, you often find the exhibition and sale of… religious items.” In Paul’s day, the selling of silver statues of the goddess Diana (aka Artemis) was such a lucrative business that the presence of the Gospel was unwelcome due to the threats it posed financially. They were superstitious, so their religious items provide to be a goldmine. It comes as no surprise, then, that revelations of Christianity may be offensive.
In light of what happened in Ephesus with the trinkets of religion, it’s fascinating to consider the trinkets that now adorn Christianity in the 21st century (many of which are available at your local Christian bookstore). I’m not sure that the things we peddle are much different than what they had – the main difference seems to be that ours carry Christian quotes or bible verses.
I’m not saying it’s all bad or ill-intended, but there’s some level of a cringe factor we need to have when people are simply seeking to profiteer from the sale of whatever Christian item is popular in the moment. If the responsibility of the church is to spread the Gospel to the world, then why are we wasting our time being distracted by such things as Prayer of Jabez business card holders and quilts? (For the record, those are both items that I’ve seen in stores.) We need to be careful that we aren’t worshiping our trinkets over the God they’re supposed to remind us about and draw us closer to. When trinkets take over, then perhaps they’ve become misplaced.
Father, in our efforts to help people know You more fully, keep us from coming up with trinkets that actually keep people from You. Let the only thing we introduce to people be the Gospel of Jesus.