Acts 16: Profit or People
Acts 16: 16 – 21 Once when we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction. she made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God. And she did this for many days. But Paul was greatly aggravated and turning to the spirit, said “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away. When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.”
The slave girl’s owners cared more about the money they were making off of her gift, than about her. They were acting out of concern for their economic situation.
Paul and Silas had done nothing wrong. Paul had cast a demon out of someone, because he had become aggravated with the spirit that was following him around. The young slave girl was now free to live a better life. The owners did not give that a second thought — they just saw a potential lower bank balance.
The magistrates listened to the crowds, beat Paul and Silas and threw them in jail. The two men had done nothing wrong. They prayed and sang in prison — despite how they must have been physically feeling at the time. An earthquake caused prison doors to open, and the jailer was ready to kill himself, because he thought the prisoners had escaped. Instead, he and his family were lead to the Lord by Paul and Silas.
Paul’s and Silas’ had two hardships: the slave girl disturbing them and then being beaten and thrown in jail. If they were not in jail, they may not have met the jailer and he and his family would not have met the Lord Jesus Christ.
Questions to myself: What am I willing to go through to benefit others? Am I more concerned with my own profit, my own activities or am I willing to suffer some inconvenience to benefit others? (Yes, I know, Paul and Silas were a lot more than inconvenienced!)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me grow in hearing your voice and in my willingness to follow you. Help me to act in such a way that I see the people in front of me the way You see them. If I face setbacks, help me to see that there may actually be a ministry opportunity awaiting. Amen.
CC: K Carswell 2022
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.