I was thinking about Ananias and Saphira this morning.
I don’t know why, I just was…
People in the church who had a lot were noticing that other people didn’t have much at all, so they began to sell what they had, giving the money to the apostles to use to help whoever needed it. It’s awesome to see people sacrificing what they have for the benefit of someone else. I think it looks a lot like Jesus, who even though He was God “made Himself nothing” for the benefit of mankind.
We’re not given a lot of details as to how the plot unfolded, but what what we do know is that Ananias and his wife sold some property and brought money to the apostles. A noble act of generosity, but something was not quite right. It seems that they presented their offering as something it was not: they kept back a part but presented it as the whole.
Their deception cost them their lives.
As I thought about these two, I thought about the way we often play church. We come, we do the things we’re supposed to do in a worship service, we drop a check in the offering, we sit politely while someone speaks… but are we presenting our offering (I don’t just mean the check) as something it is not? Are we keeping back parts, while letting people think we’re giving the whole?
Later in the morning, (I wasn’t thinking about Ananias and Saphira and keeping up appearances anymore) I read through the book of Malachi (and my thoughts returned to the ‘less-than-wholehearted’ motiff). Malachi had some pretty harsh words to deliver to the leaders of God’s people. They were offering blemished sacrifices and God hated it. He didn’t want anymore of it.
And I returned again, to wondering how closely we reflect that attitude. “I’ll give God what I can give without really sacrificing.” “I’ll be there, as long as it doesn’t take more than an hour or I don’t have a softball game to watch or there’s not a good football game on or I don’t have to work or… (insert your favorite excuse here)” When will we give God ALL? When will the church of consumption die and live a life reflective of Jesus? When will I bring to God a sacrifice that is fitting and pleasing to Him?