II Thessalonians 2-3; Acts 18:18-19:46
Years ago there was a love guru named Leo Buscaglia. I was getting my degree in school counseling at the time when he came to our town for a workshop. Our professor encouraged us to attend and, in fact, a couple of my friends were star-struck by the thought of even being in the same auditorium with him. I had never heard of him before, but I got caught up in the excitement and anticipation of hearing something great.
I thought of that today when I read that there was a riot in Asia, started by disgruntled tradesmen who were losing customers in their idol-making companies because many people were turning from worshiping the pretend god Artemis and turning to Jesus instead.
So the CEOs of the idol industry, under the leadership of Demetrius, put their heads together. Their solution was to start a chant: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” It caught on.
The Bible tells us soon the whole city was shouting how great that pretend god was. The people actually captured two of Paul’s fellow missionaries and dragged them to the city officials.
But here’s what spoke to me today” “Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” (Acts 19:32b)
I felt the same way about ten minutes into Buscaglia’s lecture. Oh, he was a great speaker, a gifted story-teller, but his message was glaringly void of truth. As loving as it sounded, there was no depth at all because the love he spoke of was something he believed we all had within us, could tap into. He talked about a higher power, but it was obvious by what he said that he had no personal knowledge of the love of God.
I will say another thing that made me very uncomfortable that night was the adoration of the crowd that bordered on worship of the man. Even my friends were in awe and I remember one of them pushing her way through the crowd so she could touch him. What had I gotten myself into?
I guess I would encourage us all to be mindful of the voices out there that would draw us in, either by touching our emotions like what we read in Acts, or by half-truths, or ideas and philosophies which sound good at first glance. Before we mindlessly follow the crowd, maybe we should do some investigating. “Everybody is doing it” is a ridiculous reason for ANYTHING!