Acts 19:18-19 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.
Drachma: a day’s wages. So let’s do some quick math. Just to be conservative, I’ll lean to the lower end of the spectrum. Let’s say that you make $10 an hour, which is just above minimum wage. You work eight hours a day = 80 bucks. Now multiply that by fifty thousand. The result? $4,000,000. Yes that’s right, 4 million big ones. You might make more than that, so the figure could easily be 8 million or 12 million. So let me restate Acts 19: they burned sorcery scrolls valued at over $4 million in today’s dollars. That’s a lot of scrolls! That’s a big fire.
I can’t even fathom burning a 4 million dollar bonfire. It seems painful to part with valued possessions, to light fire to hard earned money. But these former sorcerers had a new perspective; they saw it in a different way. You see, at one point in their lives, these scrolls were an asset – possibly their biggest asset. Most people I know don’t part with their assets. So we could assume that because of finding Christ, these things lost their value. But I don’t think that’s true either. If they had a zero value, then maybe they would have just given them away to someone who could use them. Or maybe just put them away in a closet until the next garage sale.
They didn’t go from being assets to being valueless. They went from being assets to being liabilities. When you have liabilities, you should make them go away. You want to destroy them, maybe even burn them. They discovered through the message of the gospel that these scrolls were a hindrance to true life. They discovered that if they kept them in their life in any way, these things would ruin them. Bonfire time, baby!
When confronted with God’s Word, we often find that there are things in our life that shouldn’t be there. They might be things that we f0rmerly enjoyed. Like magic scrolls, they were our livelihood. Then God shows us that these things have not only lost their value, they will destroy us. And the Christian responds by putting those things away in the closet, or giving them to someone who can use them. The problem: we are either temporarily hiding our liabilities or giving someone else something that will hurt them. That’s not what needs to happen. We need to have a bonfire! We need to get out the matches and the gasoline, friends. Flame on!
*Would you be willing to have a $4 million bonfire?
*Are there things in your life that you have “put away” but need to be destroyed altogether?