18Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
The Gospel always means that there will be significant sacrifice because of coming to Christ. Those who had practiced “magic arts” came and burned their books. This would have represented a sizeable financial sacrifice. In Ephesus those who made their money from the manufacture of idols realized that the more people who became Christians, the less people there would be buying from them. There is no way to fudge this. People coming to Christ would mean they would lose business. It would effect their bottom line. If the idol makers themselves became Christians they would have to find a new line of work.
North America desperately needs to realize this and the church needs to articulate it in presenting the Gospel. No one can serve God and money. There can only be one Master and it must always be Jesus Christ. Coming to Jesus may cause the loss of more money than gain. And real Christians will take the loss joyfully. This may cause great consternation in many people but we cannot change the truth. It is Jesus or nothing. There are no Christian idol makers, prostitutes, gangsters, drug dealers, gossips, cheaters, heartless ignorers of the poor… There are only repentant ones.