Wednesday, November 6, 2019
“Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” [Acts 5:3-4]
Peter is direct and to the point in this biblical story found in The Acts of the Apostles. Great fear seized the whole church in response to the consequences of Ananias and Sapphira’s decision. And great fear is an appropriate response! Imagine the death penalty as a consequence to lying. Would any of us be standing? Yet, this story is so much more than a fear tactic.
It uncovers our motives. Ananias and Sapphira were part of the early church and “there was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” Ananias and Sapphira gave generously, but they conspired to only give a portion while saying the amount was all the proceeds. Their giving was tainted by a lie. This story challenges us to examine our own motives when it comes to giving of any sort – giving of our time, of our skills, of our place, or of our money. Spend some time this week examining your motives.
Holy One, this story scares me as I admit that I often have selfish motives. Help me to see more clearly that all I have is a gift from you. Then teach me to discern how best to share what you have given me to bless others. Amen.