Day 10: Everybody Loves Meetings (Acts 4:32–5:1-16)
Today’s Passage: Acts 4:32-5:16
Been to a church meeting? I have. I have even chaired church meetings.
How about non-church business meetings? Yup, me too.
What I am about to say is a broad generality, but I believe it to be true.
Church meetings, in general, are very focused on keeping the peace. Non-church business meetings are similarly focused: focused on mission. At least the good ones are.
Well run businesses are focused on getting the job done. They, in general, have a lower tolerance for people who are toxic and people who are best described as emotional terrorists.
I imagine, as you are reading this, you may be thinking of all the non-church business meetings that you have experienced that were not good. I get it. In my experience however, the unspoken pressure to keep the peace, is much higher in church meetings.
Imagine if that pressure won out when Ananias brought his gift. Or, when his wife arrived? This new widow (who doesn’t even know she is a widow) arrives. Does the church leadership run to comfort her? No! Are they cold-hearted? I don’t think so. I think they are being smart.
They realized Ananias was lying to them. Why was he lying? Who knows? Perhaps, to gain favor, or a position of prominence in this rapidly expanding movement. Think about it. Thousands of people are joining their ranks. When something becomes that explosive, it attracts all sorts of people.
I expect (and yes this is speculation) that if Ananias showed up and told them he sold the land and wanted to donate a percentage of it to this work, they would have been grateful. I don’t believe this portion of the Bible is suggesting socialism. It is suggesting that we not lie, especially to God.
In this moment, God moves powerfully to keep sin out of his fledgling church. The scene is brutal. I can hear people thinking that God is being mean-spirited. Isn’t he the God of “second chances”?
The answer is, “He is God”. He is not capricious. In fact, in the grand story of the Bible, he has every right to this action and because he is a righteous God, taking this action is not wrong.
It is just hard to read and consider.
It is hard to read and consider because perhaps, it strikes too close to home.
For those of us who attend church, who join into Christ’s Body (that is how the church is described), we have entered into a holy endeavor.
Let’s remove ourselves just for a moment. What is your reaction when you read of the latest church scandal? From stealing money, to abuses of power, to sexual abuse of the worst kind —what is your reaction?
The world’s reaction too often is to walk away from God. The world ascribes the human failures of the church, to being failures of God.