I was standing in the bathroom. In a split second, the entire toilet paper roll went from on top of the toilet to inside the toilet bowl. To this day, I don't remember how it jumped in there. As a 7 year old, standing in my grandparent's house, I knew that this thing was not going to flush down. I was going to have to get it out. So I reached down and grabbed the soggy mess of soaked toilet paper. Now what was I going to do with it? Fortunately, there was a trash can sitting close by. Whew...what a start to my day! There was a problem, I solved the problem, no big deal...right? Well about an hour later, my aunt comes walking down the stairs and asks me if I knew what had happened to the toilet paper roll. I don't know why I got scared. I don't know why I thought there would be punishment for a wasted roll of toilet paper, but I decided that now was not the time to tell the truth. I said something along the line of, "What toilet paper? I don't know anything about the toilet paper."
In Acts 5, we begin to see human nature trying to wiggle its way into the early church. Take a look:
5 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
Picture yourself in Ananias and Sapphira's shoes for a second. They have seen this Jesus movement take off like a rocket. There is an incredible story going around about a man named Joseph who just sold some property and donated the entire amount to the needs of the ministry. Joseph's gift was so generous that they gave him a new name...Barnabas. (you can find our blog on this story by clicking here). Now Ananias and Sapphira have come up with a scheme that they would sell their land, donate some of the funds, keep some of the funds, but intentionally say that they were donating the full amount from the land sale. Everything was going so good for the church thus far in the book of Acts. Why did a weird story like this have to be thrown in there? I believe there are a couple lessons in here. The first is that honesty and integrity are vital in the Jesus movement. The second is that there is only one name we should try to make famous, and that is Jesus. We are not generous with our time, talent, and treasure so that we can receive recognition or fame. We are generous with our time, talent, and treasure to make Jesus known. Perhaps it is time to think through our motives for why we are doing things for The Kingdom. Are we willing to give of our time, even when no one sees or knows? Are we willing to use our talents, even though our talent doesn't seem as significant as those around us? Are we willing to give significant resources, even though our name will never go on a building?
With sincere love for each of you,