Our daily reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of the chapters from that day's readings. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.
The first part of this chapter contains one of the most troubling stories in Acts. Believers named Ananias and Sapphira are drawn to the new Church, and along with many others sell land and donate the proceeds. But they lie, saying they've given everything when they've kept some for themselves. Judgement falls on them and they die.
At one level, this story speaks of the importance of holiness in the life of the people of God. There are other stories in the Old Testament of similar things happening (Leviticus 10.1–2, 2 Samuel 6.1–8, 2 Chronicles 26.16–20). In this case, what matters is not ritual uncleanness but lies. Ananias and Sapphira were free to give as much as they wanted, but they wanted to seem as though they had given more.
At another level, the story is about the importance of integrity. We may not go as far as Ananias and Sapphira, but the temptation to seem better than we are is one we all face. And perhaps it was made harder for them to be honest because – in the first excitement of the new Church, when everyone was full of enthusiasm – to be a little more cautious and reserved in their giving would have made them stand out. Perhaps people would have questioned their commitment, or even doubted whether they were real Christians.
Ananias and Sapphira did wrong and suffered for it. But perhaps in today's Church, we can help each other live better by being more accepting of each other and more honest about our own failings, so that it's easier to tell the truth.