Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Acts 5:1-11 - Giving Until it Hurts?

Scripture: Acts 5:1-11

Summary: A couple, Ananias and Sapphira, sold a piece of property. They decided to keep some of the money for themselves. They brought the rest of it to Peter to share with the church, pretending that it was all that they had received for the land. Peter asked him why he was lying, that he could have kept part of the money without lying about it. He said "You did not lie to us but to God!" Then Ananais fell down and died. When Sapphira came in and told Peter the same thing, she also died.

Thoughts: I have always wanted to use this scripture to preach from during a stewardship campaign. Give everything you can to the church or you will die! I suppose, though, that it is a little extreme. I think that the real purpose of this scripture is to get people thinking about honesty. The problem with Ananais and Sapphira is not that they did not give all of their money to the church. The problem is that they wanted everyone to believe that they had given all of the proceeds but kept some for themselves. How do we approach giving to the church? Do we give whatever is left over at the end of the month? Or do we determine ahead of time how much we want to give and give it at the beginning of the month? I confess that I have too often followed the first option, giving only what remains at the end of the month. It's easy to use the excuse that we have to make sure that we can make the house payment and pay the electric bill. But there are many things that I get each month that I don't really have to have. What would it take for you to give generously to the church at the beginning of the month? What is God calling you to give?

Prayer: God, give me the courage to take a leap of faith and give generously to my faith community. I want to be a part of this congregation and I have pledged to support it with my prayers, my presence, my gifts, my service and my witness. Help me to do so generously! Amen.