Acts 5:3 – But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Yesterday I wrote about Ananias and Sapphira “holding back” a portion of their possession as it related to their offering to the Lord. We need to clearly understand that it was NOT the “holding back” that was the problem relating to the gift they brought, but their deception, their lack of integrity in what they gave. They attempted to make it appear that what they gave was the full price of the possession they sold, when in truth, it was not. They were falling prey to one of Satan’s schemes that he still uses against the church today regarding giving. Let’s identify that scheme so we do not fall prey to it.
We know, according to Acts 5, that some of the people were selling personal possessions and giving the totality of the sale price to the work of the Lord. The Scriptures do not say everyone was doing so. It seems clear that those who did so were doing so out of a heart of willful love for the Lord, or possibly the Lord was speaking to certain ones to do that, as Jesus had the rich young ruler who went away sad when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it all to the poor. We also know that Jesus spoke in a more general aspect concerning giving in Luke 6:38. This is two different kinds of giving to which different laws of reciprocity apply. Remember, we must rightly divide the Word of God. Failure to do so, especially in the matter of giving and receiving, or the laws of reciprocity, has brought great misunderstanding into the body of Christ, and in some cases, has turned the hearts of people FROM giving to the Lord. With the love of money being the root of all evil, Satan has well used misdirected thought and teaching concerning the laws of reciprocity to create division in and to rob from the kingdom of God.
In the case of our Text for Today, we don’t know the full motive of Ananias and Sapphira, but we do know they were deceptive in their actions. In essence, we can clearly see that their giving was NOT cheerful. I believe their giving was an attempt to ingratiate themselves in the eyes of fellow believers in order to gain some position of power or prestige in the infant church. People with such thinking rely on the tradition that power attained early often becomes long-term power that translates to money and people-control. What we must note here is that if Ananias and Sapphira had simply given to the work of the Lord silently, not attempting to get people to believe they were “giving all,” their gift would have been received and blessed by the Lord and honored by the church. But to lie, to deceive; there, my friend, is the problem.
Manna for Today – Acts 5:1-11; Luke 6:38; Matthew 10:29-30; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Corinthians