A Costly Lie

Acts 5:1-11

1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2 with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 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!” 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. 6 The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.

I find this story a difficult one to reconcile with who I understand God to be and what God is all about. It certainly reinforces the old adage that “honesty is the best policy.”

More importantly, I believe it also reinforces Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Ananias and Saphira were only deceiving themselves, and for no good reason. Sadly, Ananias and Saphira are still well represented in the church, people blessed with far more than they will ever need who plead poverty before God. To be clear, it’s not their hard work and good fortune that’s the problem.

In the very next verse, 2 Corinthians 9:8 Paul says, “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” Now this is the God I know!

It is such a joy to serve an Ananias-free church, to worship, study, and minister with people dedicated to sharing abundantly and doing good works! Thank you!

Be a blessing to someone today!

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