Today our Bible reading is Acts 5. It is the story of the deceit and death of Ananias and Sapphira, the increase of the church through signs and wonders, the persecution of the apostles and their boldness to share the good news in the face of persecution.
Generosity Comes From The Heart (Acts 5:1-10)
After Ananias and Sapphira saw the great generosity of Barnabas and they both desired the reputation of great generosity, without actually being remarkably generous. The apostle Peter acknowledged that the land belonged to Ananias and he was completely free to do with it what he wanted.
Their sin was fundamentally rooted in pride. They wanted everyone to consider them so spiritual that they “gave it all", when they had not. Their sin is projected in many ways today. We can create the impression that we are people of Bible reading or prayer when we are not. We can create or allow the impression that we love God with all our hearts when we do not. It is so easy to fall into the temptation of projecting an image of spirituality without the reality of spiritual life.
Their crime was not in withholding the money, but in deceptively implying that they gave it all. Ultimately, generosity comes from the heart.
2 Corinthians 9:7. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” NLT
Generosity comes in many forms. You can be generous with your time, money, ideas, talents, service, words, love and help to others. To be generous means giving something that is valuable to you without expectation of reward, return or even recognition. Many traditions measure generosity not by the size of the gift, but by what it cost the giver. It cost God everything when He gave His only Son for our sakes. He is the ultimate Giver. What does it mean for us today?
1. During this season of praying and fasting, why not take a breather and check your spiritual heart.
Read and reflect on Colossians 3:23.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. NIV
Are you giving and serving to please God or people? Are you doing it from your heart conviction or for your image presentation?
2. Reflect on your love for God.
Do you study the Bible to preach more than you study it to hear from God? Do you pray more often in public than you pray in private? Do you love ministry more than you love Christ? Remember, intimacy with God comes before ministry for God.
3. Read Acts 4:32-34 and reflect on various ways you can be generous to others. Recognize that our blessing can be curse if we put our heart in riches rather than in Him who richly provides. Thank Him for His provision and remember, always give with a cheerful heart.