A Devotion Based on Acts 4.32-5.11

No one told Ananias and Sapphira to sell their land. Nobody told them to give the money to the church. As Peter said, it’s their land, their money, they could do whatever they wanted. The only thing they could not do was use some of that money to pretend to be more generous than they were.

The Early Church, just like our church today, relied on the generosity of the people. The Book of Acts repeatedly tells us stories of people sharing their possessions with one another. That’s how they could support one another as they lived out God’s calling in their lives. And just like today, everyone noticed the ones who were more generous than the rest. The church people honored these people – people like Barnabas who sold his property and gave all the money to the church.

Ananias and Sapphira wanted that respect. They wanted the church to admire them the way they had admired Barnabas. That’s why they sold their property. But because they were not as generous as Barnabas, they decided to keep some of the money for themselves while pretending that they had given the whole amount to the church – just like Barnabas did. They wanted to be treated as generous people without giving the way generous people do.

But here’s the million dollar question: why bother pretending to be one when you can be one? Why settle for playing a pretend game when you can actually make it a reality? If you could do both, which one would you choose: pretending to be a diva or becoming a real diva? Of course not everyone of us has the talent, training, and opportunity to become a real pop diva and so most of us have to settle to belt it out only on karaoke night out with our friends from work. We don’t get to become divas so we pretend to be one.

This is what is so frustrating about hypocritical Christians. They settle for just pretending to be true disciples when the truth is that Jesus has poured his Spirit on us precisely so that we can be his true disciples. We don’t have to fake it. We can be disciples ourselves. We can be mature, loving, kind, wise, generous – we can grow into becoming like our Lord Jesus Christ himself. That’s what the Spirit wants to do everyday in our lives: transform us little by little to become more and more like Jesus.

Ananias and Sapphira chose to pretend. Barnabas chose to become. Too many Christians choose to pretend like Ananias and Sapphira. Let us strive to become the real deal instead.