Acts 5:1-16; Deuteronomy 23-24; Job 15
The old saying is that it’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one worries about getting credit. When you want credit or recognition for everything you do, that can gum up the works. Even the early church found that out. Joseph, also called Barnabas, sold a field and brought the money to the apostles to use meet the needs of the church members. Others were doing things like this: for some reason he was mentioned in the Bible. Ananias and Sapphira envied the attention and credit that he got. At the same time, their faith wasn’t quite as strong. They sold “a possession.” Ananias put part of their proceeds in an IRA and brought the rest to the apostles claiming that it was the full price. Imagine the shock and surprise when instead of getting praise for his faith, Peter rebuked him! “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:4) If Ananias had told Peter – “We sold it and here are half of the proceeds,” he would have been ok. The problem was, he and the little woman wanted that same credit for having faith that Barnabas had gotten. Their envy, desire for credit and their lying lack of faith caused their deaths. Today is tax day in the US. Most take care of their taxes earlier, but some wait until the due day. If people aren’t truthful when reporting their income to the IRS, they can run into all kinds of trouble. When we think of our giving to support God’s work does our giving even reflect the income that we reported to the IRS? I’m grateful that we aren’t treated like Ananias and Sapphira when we give to support God’s work and God’s people. The work then was important enough to make a statement. Today, the work has increased and we need to be faithful in using what God has given us to support His work.
Oh Lord, there is so much work that needs to be done in Your world. Brothers and sisters are being persecuted for their faith and boldness in proclaiming the gospel. Brothers and sisters are going hungry and without homes. Guide us to give intelligently to support Your work – not wanting any credit from others but desiring only the joy of being faithful to You.