Today’s Reading: Acts 5:1-2 (NIV)
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Have you ever kept a little secret that should have been brought to light? Have you ever shared a secret that caused so much grief and pain that it totally ruined another person’s life? Which side of the white picket fence will we choose to sit on? Where will truth end and all the lies begin?
It is human nature to try to convince ourselves that things are not as bad as they seem. If we spin the truth long enough and in just the right way, we may be able to self-justify why we make some of our biggest mistakes. But does it right a wrong? As I think about it, I’ve yet to meet the perfect family, with cookie-cutter children, who live fairytale lives with virtually no problems at all. There is only one I know who walked a perfect and sinless life here on earth; He is God made man. Fully human yet fully divine; the Lord of life, and his name is Jesus. He never withheld anything back from His heavenly Father. So why do we try so hard to hold back the things that have never belonged to us in the first place?
Sapphira loved her husband. She trusted him. She was fully aware when her husband sold that piece of property to donate to Christ’s cause. She knew its full value and that he intended to keep some of the proceeds from the sale. I imagine the conversation to justify this wrongful act sounded something like this: “Honey, no one will ever know that we did not give it all. We didn't know Jesus when we purchased that property. He did not see how hard we worked for years just to pay it off. With what little we keep for ourselves, we can use it to take that dream trip we’ve always wanted to make – a two week cruise around the Mediterranean! You know we deserve this. This money belongs to us! I am convinced the Apostles and our new faith community will never find out or even blame us for our decision. It can be our little secret.” Then Ananias planted a sweet kiss on Sapphira’s blushing cheek just to seal the deal. It kind of reminds me of how Judas kissed Jesus’ cheek just before he was taken away by the Roman guard.
So here’s the question I wrestle with today: do you think Sapphira should have kept her mouth shut about the money? Should she have risked her marriage to betray her husband’s dishonestly in publicly confessing the sin? We may think we can fool each other and may even deceive ourselves along the way. It is not possible to fool or deceive the Lord, no matter how hard we try. Jesus sees not only what we withhold in our bank accounts; He knows what we withhold from Him in our hearts. How much are you unwilling to give back to the Lord? What price will you and I ultimately pay for not giving full disclosure?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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