When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business.” – Acts 19:25
Who is most disturbed by your ministry? As Christianity grew in Ephesus, the idol-making industry shrank and the goldsmiths (who were some of the greatest benefactors of a prosperous idolatry) were negatively affected. Obviously, this made the successful work of Paul and his friends a target for harassment and persecution.
One way to measure the effectiveness of your efforts for Christ is their influence on the decisions of those who live within their boundaries. Under Paul’s ministry, idol-worship fell because the worship of the one, true God rose. If we are looking for true qualitative analysis of ministerial impact, shouldn’t we see similar effects among those we are seeking to reach? The ultimate end of the true adoration of God should be the replacement of the worship of anything else.
The rejection of idolatry certainly brings positive cultural change, but idols will never be rejected apart from a change of heart. While legislation and laws may limit immorality (and, therefore, remain necessary), they can never guarantee a truly moral culture. Only Christ can do that. Only changed hearts change cultures.
A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. – Mohandas Gandhi