5:1 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.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Last night I read Acts 5:1-11. After I read these verses I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, that seems a little harsh.” These verses tell of Ananias and his wife who during a time of great unity in the early church decide to sell some property and secretly keep part of the profit for themselves. When they are found out and brought before Peter and the others they drop dead. Harsh right? I mean, it was their land…right?
As I got to thinking about it I realized Ananias and his wife fell into a trap that I catch myself falling into often. They fell for the lie that that property (that God blessed them with) was theirs. God blessed them with that property for a reason – to support His kingdom. Everyone in this group of early church believers was sharing everything. They were giving it all to God and His church. They were living in unity – supporting one another.
Acts 4:34 says there were “no needy people among them.” During this time there was no one in need. But Ananias got selfish. Rather than offering up what was already God’s back to God, he kept it for himself.
Today’s Christians (myself included) do the same thing. We put ourselves above the needs of the church, and hoard up God’s monetary blessings for ourselves. Imagine if today’s church could say that there was no one in need. That would be pretty awesome! But instead, churches are struggling and stretching their budgets, and are not able to do as much as they want to do in helping needy families and ministries in their area.
Oh, how I wish congregations would wake up and realize that their property is not their own. It is God’s, and He is watching and waiting to see what we do with it.