Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Giving (Part 4)
Ananias and Sapphira
A certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God...'
Acts 5:1-4 (NKJV)*
The story of Ananias and Sapphira is troubling. Among the first Christians, they sold a piece of land, donated to the church, kept some cash for themselves, lied about the amounts and both died that same day.
By the standards of men, they seemed generous. By the judgment of God, they proved devious. Were they giving on the outside, but holding back on the inside? Were they early church hypocrites? Consider two more examples:
'This poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned' (Mark 12:43-44).
'Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward' (Matthew 10:42).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: consider two conclusions:
1) Whether you give a cup of cold water or a penny, God doesn't judge a gift's quality by its quantity. God looks at the heart: the love behind it, the motive for it. Whether you perform at a grammar school or nursing home, give each one your all. Because without sold-out hearts, big shows are disgusting to God.
2) Upon direct cross-examination from their leader, neither Ananias nor his wife repented their lies. Their gesture of generosity re-established church hypocrisy: a cancer Jesus gave His Life to cure. So when you mess up, fess up. Then God will accept your gifts. A good example is the greatest role you're called to play.
To Be Continued...
* The full story of Ananias and Sapphira: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%205:1-11&version=NKJV
* Previous AMTC Devotion on The Compromising Church: http://amtcdevotions.org/the-call-to-overcome-part-15-the-compromising-church
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Giving series.