But when her owners saw that their hope
of making money was gone, they seized
Paul and Silas and dragged them into the
market-place before the authorities.
Acts 16:9

Acts 16:16-40

Click HERE to read today's scripture or use your Bible.

For the first time, but not the last time, Paul and his companions get into trouble with the business and political establishment of the Roman empire.

Paul, in a fit of exasperation, commands the spirit of divination possessing a very valuable slave-girl to come out of her.

When her owners realize her economic value has been destroyed, they are enraged.

They drag Paul and Silas into the marketplace and to the authorities and convince them Paul and Silas are bad for business.

For the owners of the slave girl, the only thing that matters is making money and anything that interferes with their pursuit of wealth must be destroyed.

The real conflict here is between those who worship God and those who worship Mammon and is a conflict that continues to this day.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was very clear:
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”—Matthew 6:24

In what ways does your discipleship to Christ shape and guide your economic choices?

Today, ask the Spirit to open your eyes so that you can see our national and the world's economy from God’s perspective.

In what ways is the pursuit of wealth impacting political decisions at the local, state, and national levels?

You may want to read one of John Wesley’s most well known sermons, The Use of Money to see how the founder of the Methodist movement integrated economics and faith. (The link is to an abridged version updated into modern English; the original 18th Century language version of the sermon can be found here .)

Gracious God,
We know that your love is infinite and that you care about all areas of our life. In this time of economic insecurity, help us to trust that all of our security is in you.
Keep us mindful that you always have and always will provide for our needs. Apart from you we can do nothing.

Merciful God,
We ask that you give our leaders the wisdom to guide our nation and the world out of the current economic crisis.
Help us to protect the poor and all those who are struggling during this difficult time.
Provide for their needs and give them hope.
Open new opportunities for them and furnish the resources they need to live with dignity. Encourage those who have enough to share essential resources with those who lack the necessities of life, and to do so with humble, grateful and loving hearts.

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.