Dec 31 - Acts, Part 4
A great part of attending Newstart is the blessing that comes from experiencing and witnessing authentically faithful people living their lives according to scripture. Every week we see Christ-followers walk through their days as honest, forgiving, loving, and generous people.
This is what life was like for Ananias and Sapphira, who lived in a community where once-greedy people were becoming generous, prejudices were falling away, and good was blossoming everywhere. They saw Barnabas and others sell off some of their land and place the money at the apostles’ feet to be distributed to those in need. Like them, Ananias and Sapphira also sold a piece of property, but they only placed a portion of their earnings at the apostles’ feet and secretly held the rest back for themselves.
Acts 5:3-4 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
Ananias and Sapphira had hoped to have their cake and eat it too; they wanted to appear generous to their peers, but also wanted to secure a nest egg for themselves. The problem here wasn’t greed, not entirely. They weren’t obligated to donate any of their money, but they wanted to appear generous, so they deceptively led the community to believe they were donating the full sum. They were being inauthentic, but what God truly wants from us is complete authenticity. This is how we grow closer to Him.
This story ends with both the husband and wife collapsing dead for “conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 5:9),” but it didn’t have to end that way. They could have come to fellow believers and admitted what they had done. If the couple had confessed they didn’t feel as generous as they knew they should be and asked for prayers that God would give them charitable hearts, they could have grown spiritually, rather than dropping dead on the spot.
Are there areas of your life where you aren’t living authentically? Pray that God will help you to overcome those hurdles and continue to surround yourself with faithful believers. Your spiritual life will become so much richer and fuller as a result.