5 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
The context here is that the disciples of Jesus, this earliest of Christian communities, are sharing all their possessions. Ananias and Sapphira, who are wealthy people, also participate in this sharing. However, they lie about the proportion of their wealth they are sharing. They claim to be giving EVERYTHING away, but in reality they have held back some of their wealth for themselves. I assume they have lied because they wanted to appear good and generous in the sight of the Christian community, their new friends. But this is a great offense before God. It makes a god out of approval from people and diminishes God. Making a god out of approval from people will kill me, eventually. Life is only found in the one true God, who has poured his Holy Spirit into our hearts.
Lord, Holy Spirit, may my heart desire only your approval. May I rest in your love and enjoy your promise of faithfulness to me. Go before me that people may see that I honour you and your righteousness fills me. Lord, teach me to seek your approval alone.
Written by Andrew Mellor