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May 14 | Acts 5:1-11

Updated: May 23


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Free From a Deathly Greed

by Dan Kidd


Today's passage is a jarring one. Ananias, a member of the earliest, burgeoning church community, following the model of others, went to Peter, after having sold some property, and laid the proceeds at his feet. But not all of the proceeds. Ananias had held some back for himself and his wife Sapphira. Peter, presumably informed by the Holy Spirit, identifies the deception of Ananias not only as a lie against Peter and the church community, but against the Holy Spirit. Ananias then fell to the ground dead. Some time later Sapphira came to Peter and repeated the lie about keeping back some of the proceeds, Peter repeated his admonishment about conspiring against the Holy Spirit and she too passed right away.


As we've encountered over the last several weeks in our "Free!" series, the Bible has a great deal to say about wealth, treasures, and the pursuits and use of money. Today's passage is a stark illustration of these warnings in practical terms. Certainly, it is exceptionally rare that someone's greed causes them to immediately drop dead like in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. But, that's not because all other greed is less deadly. It's simply that greed usually kills us far more slowly and agonizingly. Instead, often our love of money and our pursuit of riches snare us and leave us to waste away in their grip. Our envies thieve our joy from us. Our discontented bellies crave more as they swell. Ananias and Sapphira were but canaries in the coal mine, and for those who are not set free from the clutches of greed, suffocation looms heavy.


And this is why we need, so desperately, to be set free! Free from our discontent. Liberated from our fear of scarcity or the unpredictable. Unchained from our impulsivities and cheap delights. And instead, saved and gradually transformed into citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, daughters and sons in the family of God, full of love and joy, of peace and patience, able to forebear our trials, be kind, good, and faithful, being gentle and self-controlled. Christ is the antidote to the deathly venom of the sin of greed. And as often as we find ourselves once again with our eyes fixed on earthly treasures, let it be that we would turn again to gaze upon Jesus and receive his freedom to live as we created to live--content, provided for, and at peace in him.


PRAYER

Lord, we confess that the treasures of this world can be tempting to us for many reasons. And so, we turn to you to provide for us, so that we would not fear scarcity. We seek your peace and the self-control that your Spirit imbues. We bless your name in gratitude for the things that you have given us, that our eyes would not shift to look at what is not ours to have. Keep us safe, Lord, from near to you on the path of your Way, and lead us not into the piercing grief of greed.




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