by Crystal Townsend
As Paul persevered in his teaching and investment in the new believers of Ephesus, God continued to do great miracles through Paul, people confessed their sins and turned from their evil ways, and the number of believers grew! Just as Paul was about to move on from Ephesus, a riot broke out as some of the tradesmen became angry over the people’s conversion and feared they would lose business in their work on the temples of the false gods. The entire city became involved, and there was mass chaos with people screaming their arguments from both sides. “The assembly was in confusion: some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there” (Acts 19:32). This hysteria went on for hours before the city clerk was finally able to silence the crowd, remind them that the disciples had committed no crime, and warn them of the charge they may be facing for rioting with no reason.
Imagine Paul’s desire to get involved and fight for the truth. Paul’s traveling companions were drug into the theater, but the disciples wouldn’t let him follow, while his friends begged him to stay out. We don’t know what would have happened had Paul entered and tried to end the riot, but we do know that he stayed out of it. This was not an argument based on truth. Remember most of the people involved didn’t even know what it was about. It was confusion and chaos caused by a prideful man wanting to continue gaining wealth through his work for the false gods. How often do we see arguments and rants going on all around us over one hot topic or another? Arguments where people’s emotions are ruling and words are senselessly flying? We are naturally drawn in to read or listen to them, and sometimes we even insert ourselves to be sure we have a say and our opinion is heard. I encourage you today to steer clear of the chaos. Draw close to Christ and focus on the truth of God’s Word. Remember, it is not always necessary to enter the riots, but rather, invest in those around you by teaching them and guiding them closer to Jesus. I pray we will choose wisely how we will spend our time and energy, that we will glorify God through our words and actions.