Short Stories, Prov. 12:22

Short Stories With Proverbial Connections –

Ananias and Sapphira

It may be, Ananias did not have a long history of recurring dishonesty. His wife may not have been caught up in that habit. But when they sold a piece of property to contribute through the apostles for those who shared a common faith, they “brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

While it can be argued with good basis that they were not under some sort of legalistic obligation to give the total to the apostles, Peter’s response shows that the Holy Spirit knew they represented the part as the whole.

The response was stark in clarity and conviction. 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 as your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God’.” 

We can imagine what the impact must have been, for those standing by but especially for this couple who had just liquidated their property yet dissembled about what they gave.

The previous context (Acts 4:32-27) documents that other Christians had a part in this benevolent effort yet were not charged by the Holy Spirit. Peter’s response shows the proceeds from the sale were at their disposal; they were free to decide what they would give and what they would keep. Giving was and is always a free-will matter between the giver and God. Yet, they – perhaps in a boastful way – signaled more sacrifice than was true.

“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,” (Acts 5:7-11).

“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy,” Prov. 12:22

Attitude Articles Continued – LOVE.

What Love Is.

(1 Cor.13:4-7)

Read 1 Cor. 13

It may seem like it happened this way. Paul was writing this letter to the Christians in Corinth. At the end of chapter twelve he paused and said to himself: “Hmmm. I guess next I’ll write something about love.” (Writing instrument re-directed to parchment).

No. Paul had been writing to the church about their immature and disordered use of spiritual gifts they were privileged to have. Those gifts became, in their childish hands, instruments of competitive envy and quarreling. What was needed was respect for God, submission to His purposes accompanied by the love Paul describes in chapter thirteen. This chapter is very much a part of the context of this part of Paul’s remedial letter to the Corinthians.

In verses 4-7, love is described in terms of the various products or actions. “Love is patient and kind: love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at working-doing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Many years ago I witnessed a treasured used of this passage. I married couple were at odds and the threat of divorce was in the air. Several counselors had tried without good result to bring about reconciliation. Finally a preacher was brought in. He spent ten minutes with the couple, and they came out of the room ready to re-commit to their marriage and reconciliation was achieved by the grace of God.

What did the preacher do? He had them read 1 Cor. 13:4-7, out loud to each other. But with a slight paraphrase. He had them read the passage but with their name instead of the word “love.”

Can you imagine the impact. “Bob is patient and kind.” “Mary does not envy or boast.”

In tears they read to each other from God’s word with very direct, personal application. Both realized in those moments what was missing. Both had tender hearts. Both repented of their selfish attitudes. Both lived a good, long life married to each other, raising children and serving God.

It is so simple. Love is what is missing in so many relationships. I challenged you. Get you Bible. Go stand in front of a mirror. Read this passage and insert your name. How does that sound??