16 February 2020

During the children’s address, the minister asked whether she could peek into people’s purses (a few said yes and some of the children counted the cash). This activity linked to generosity and how much people would give in relation to what they have. “All that she had, she gave” (see Luke 21: 1-4).

The readings from the Bible were taken from Acts 4: 32-37 and Acts 5: 1-11. The first told of the new Christian community sharing their belongings to ensure that no-one was in need. This is our first introduction to Barnabas “The Encourager” when he brought the proceeds from the sale of one of his fields for the community’s use. As Barnabas’s story continues in Acts, he is shown to have a generosity of spirit which is a good example for the church community today.

The second told of a couple, Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who also sold a field but only donated a portion of the proceeds although gave the impression it was the whole amount. Peter knew about the deception and challenged the man who denied that there was more money available. He was called out but collapsed and died. His wife came to the gathering a few hours later, unaware of the preceding events, but she too denied that they had withheld any of the price. When her deception was caught, she also collapsed and died.

This outcome would have shocked the others; was this a judgement from God? The thrust of this passage reminds us that we need to be true to our words before God.