When I look around , I see a lot going on. I see wonderful people with dreams, who I earnestly desire to see succeed, I see blatant dolts who have big ideas, but no motivation to do anything about them. I also see people who have aspirations who aren’t willing to work really hard at anything but cutting corners and fighting to get ahead. I’m all about people being ambitious, in fact I respect people who chase after their dreams, even when it isn’t realistic.
Ananias and his lovely wife, Sapphira were some of those people who had some type of desire, but didn’t want to do everything it took to get there. It seems that generosity had overrun the early church and it was doing great things for the Gospel. Acts four says, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”
Imagine a church that looks like that! I see a communist/hippy commune right there, but then again, I’m a very Americanized capitalist guy who. . . not important. . . I’m also kidding. The church was showing selflessness on an individual basis, and the corporate advantages seemed incredible. In Acts five though, we encounter this lovely couple who sees what’s going on and then tries to join the crowd. They wanted to do what everyone else was doing, perhaps for the recognition, but perhaps their hearts were mostly in the right place.
Either way, they kept some money and lied about it, and God struck them dead for it. What’s interesting, is that because they consequences were so dramatic, we tend to think of these people as “bad”. In the movies, the bad guy always has to be punished or dies. That train of thought doesn’t translate into the Bible though, because I bet that these people maintained their salvation. It doesn’t say anywhere that “God recalled His work for their salvation, then they died and went to hell.”
Their bodies were the only things that died there, which is only a third of what we are, so their spirits probably ascended right into those pearl-ish gates. Think about people that you go to church with, or that you see in your life, and imagine some of the wretched things they have done. Aren’t we surrounded by fools sometimes? I don’t even mean that in a condemning manner, we simply all make mistakes!!
There are consequences to our corner-cutting and selfishness though, and in this unfortunate situation, it cost some people their lives. God is nice enough to save us from our mistakes, but He doesn’t always keep us away from the natural consequences that we bring upon ourselves. A great friend of mine always says, “If you’re going to be dumb, you gotta be tough.”
It’s fun to tell people this when you’re giving advice, but not so much when reflecting back on a situation. That kind of talk will cost you a slug in the arm, maybe even get you the silent treatment for a while.