Today’s Reading: Acts 5:5-6 (NIV)
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
I took a fall on Saturday morning. Jeff and I were leaving the parsonage to attend a visitation, and this just happened to be one of Jeff’s first trips out of the house other than to see the doctor since his elbow surgery on August 5th. He had just walked down the two steps into the garage and was headed for the car when I came out the door behind him. As I turned to shut the door behind me, my sandal strap broke and I completely missed the two steps, free-falling onto the hard concrete floor. I found myself suddenly wedged between the car and the wall. It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to scream. I fell really hard. When Jeff realized I was no longer behind him, he turned around to see where I had disappeared to. Talk about a blessing in disguise – I could have fallen on him and caused even more damage to his slow-healing arm. After the struggle he has to heal, I’m not sure I could have forgiven myself had that happened. I just sat there on the floor of our garage, trembling and shaking, wondering how I was going to get up.
Have you ever fallen down and not been able to get back up? Fortunately, I had not broken any bones, but, I was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. I couldn’t move, wedged between the front tire of my car and the wall. Jeff opened the back door and asked one of our college students who was staying with us this weekend to come outside to help me up. I couldn’t decide which actually hurt the worst – my back side or my pride. Either way, it was not a pretty sight. I decided I needed something along the line of a bridge crane to help get me up off the floor. That’s when I noticed all of the dirt. It was everywhere –and now it was all over my clean white jacket. Sometimes it takes a fall to wake you up. For me, the fall brought my mind back to reality. The Father’s message to me was coming through loud and clear.
Ananias had made a huge error in judgment. It wasn’t just that he lied to the Apostles, or that he had tried to withhold some of the proceeds of the sale for himself. The biggest mistake that Ananias made that day, as best as I can tell, is that he was not sorry for his sin. The floor of his heart was just about as filthy as the floor of my garage. He looked pretty good on the outside, but his heart was an absolute mess, rotten to the core on the inside.
If we are not careful, we can let our human heart condition advance to the place of no return. When we begin to compromise the truth for a lie, we may be able to fool others for awhile, but we cannot fool the Lord. He not only sees all the dirt in our heart, clogging up our arteries and veins, but He knows for sure whether we’re truly sorry or just trying to squeeze by. Now that my house guests are gone, the first thing I intend to do today is clean my garage. I’m also going for a nice, long walk. And while I’m out, I intend to have a heart to heart with Jesus. He is the only one who can clean up the filth in my life and recreate me from the inside out. He can take that dirty white jacket of mine and make it clean and whole again. It won’t be long before I am squeaky clean, covered in Christ’s righteousness alone. When we are truly sorry for the mistakes we’ve made, Jesus Christ will help us even after we take a sudden and hard fall.
Poor Ananias. If he had only said, “I’m sorry, Lord” and meant it.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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