But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Like the Garden of Eden, it did not take long for humans to mess things up in the church. What a shock! Anyway, during those days, the followers of Christ were poor and persecuted. So, the Spirit led them to bring all their money and possessions to give as all had needs. It was not a requirement but a blessing.
One would wonder why God killed Anannias and his wife. Was it because they chose not to give everything? No, the problem wasn’t that they withheld. The problem was that they acted like they gave all but only gave some. The Spirit led them to give, and they chose half-hearted obedience.
It’s like putting up a pretense that you are giving, serving, and leading, but actually not. So, Peter said give or don’t give, but stop pretending.
The church was young. God protected His investment and made a statement that the movement of the church required total surrender and authenticity.
Use the HEAR method as you spend time with today’s scripture.
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Why does God require total obedience?
What does it hurt to pretend?
What are areas in your spiritual life where you are pretending?