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Check Your Heart (Ananias and Sapphira)

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.

Acts 5:1-2

READ Acts 5:1-10.

When the knock came on the door, they probably both held their breath. They had been fasting and praying like the apostles taught them. Would God answer their prayer? As they opened the door to receive the payment from the buyer, their eyes widened. This package was more significant than expected. Did the buyer misread the sale price for the land? After all, the land was pretty worthless and they figured selling it was an easy way to get rid of it. 

Opening the heavy package, Ananias and Sapphira realized quickly that the money was more than they imagined. Immediately both of them started talking at once. They discussed the possibilities if they were to keep just a small portion. After all, they would still give the church the amount that they planned, just not the entire payment as they promised. No one would know.

So they moved forward with this new plan and hid the extra money in a place for safekeeping. Putting on their best attire, they went to the apostles to give them the remainder. Ananias went in first. We are not told why but maybe it was because Sapphira stopped to talk with a few of the other wives, or maybe she had to run to the restroom to double-check her makeup. Regardless, when she entered and didn’t see Ananias, it probably never crossed her mind that they had just removed his lifeless body. She never got to say goodbye.

What promise have you made to God? And what are your motives? Maybe it’s to serve in a church position or give towards a worthy cause. No matter the promise or the reason, remember a true commitment to God requires a pure heart. In Psalms 51, after being exposed by God through the prophet Nathan, David realizes that it is not his actions that are on the line - it is his heart. With this sober thought, he pens these words - Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me. Perhaps, like David, it’s time for a heart check. 

Thought Questions

  • What was wrong with what Ananias and Sapphira did? Was it that they kept a part of earnings? Or that they lied and gave only a part of what they promised? Go back to Acts 5 and read what Peter’s response was to Ananias before he died. 
  • Think about the things you “give” to God. Is your heart in the right place, or are you giving with ulterior motives? Join with your spouse to pray that God purifies your motives and aligns your heart with His desires.

Life Lessons

  • If God takes His promises seriously, then we should too. Be careful to pray as you give of your time, talents, and treasure to God. While your gifts are valuable to His work, your heart matters even more.

Further Study

Read Psalms 51:16-17. More than anything, God wants our hearts to be aligned with His will. Discuss with your spouse what this looks like.