“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart?”
By Reverend Ray
“The pitiable creature, with dark glasses and his little tin cup was standing on the street corner, patiently waiting for some small contribution. A kindly man passed by and generously dropped a dime in the poor old fellow’s cup. Then for some reason he turned around, and to his surprise saw the blind man’s glasses pushed up on his forehead, and his eager eyes closely examining the recent gift.
“I thought you were a blind man,” said the disgruntled donor.
“Oh, no,” was the answer, “I am only substituting for the regular blind man today. I’m not really blind at all.”
“Well, where is the regular blind man?” asked the other.
“Oh, he’s gone to the movies; it’s his afternoon off.”
In the account of Ananias and Sapphira, it is not so obvious to the text that there is a severe warning that is often overlooked. It is obvious at least on the surface reading of the passage that lying to God was their sin. But lying is equally just a symptom of a much more disastrous moral failure. When we look a little deeper into the circumstances and mindset that motivated them to lie we gain a vital understanding of the superfluous self applied demands that were instrumental in provoking the lie. It is important to point out that Ananias and Sapphira were not compelled nor was any other believer at the time obligated to make such sacrifices in order to fund the ongoing ministry of the church in Jerusalem. The simplicity of their deceptive actions was that lies are always formed for the sake of cover-up or exaggeration of the facts. Here it was Ananias and Sapphira’s half-heartedness that they were seeking to cover-up. In reality, long before they ever gave a false report of their giving to Peter, they were being dishonest to themselves and to God. They didn’t possess the faith they claimed or at least hoped to portray to their brethren and the church.
In service and sacrifice to God; He would rather that we be transparent and honest to ourselves and Him as to the level of faith we possess. To try to manufacture a level of faith and sacrifice that doesn’t exist is only an invitation to certain destruction. We are reminded; “we are accepted according to that which we have and not that we have not.” The pressure comes externally from those who demand that we be more than we are or ourselves when we apply to ourselves unreasonable expectations and goals. It would have been no sin to Ananias and Sapphira had they kept the property or if they had sold it and openly designated a part of the return to the ministry. We often get in our minds that God is looking for big, impressive sacrifices, when in reality; he wants us to be genuinely transparent and honest about our faith limitations because it is Him that allots our measure of faith.
There is no indication in any form that Ananias and Sapphira would have been shamed for not selling their property. It was in their power to do as they wished. So then, pretense was the real issue that was behind their act of lying. And lest we think that pretense is an archaic issue with the church, we need only to look around at the church today and the conduct of her members in many cases.
In much of what is sacrificed and done in the name of service to God today is really only pretense. We are just putting on like the stand in for the blind man. Pretence is committed to the lie in order to sustain itself and much of what is done in Christianity today is just a blind stand in. God is looking for a genuineness and honesty in our lives that is seeking to be pleasing in the face of God and understanding ourselves in this light. Anything else is merely blind pretense.
Dribble from the pen