Scripture Reading — Acts 5:1-11
"You have not lied to men but to God." Acts 5:4 —
We don't usually admit it, but we're often fakers. Phonies. Bluffers. And most of us are really good at it.
So it's not surprising that we are powerfully tempted to fake our way through church too. After all, it seems, church is where "good people" gather together to "do good." So we apply our best faking skills to fit in by looking good. Maybe we dress the part. Maybe we inflate our prayer life. Maybe we buy a religious bumper sticker for our car. Maybe we lay out the religious magazine when the pastor visits. Maybe we make our rotting marriage appear happy. Maybe we brighten our smile to hide the cancer of bitterness inside.
The story in our Scripture today makes the faker in us shudder. It should. This story disturbs our sense of spiritual security. It reads like a horror scene in what we thought would be a safe Christian film.
The early church seemed ideal. It cured the lame. It fed the poor. It enjoyed great honor among the people. Then tragedy struck.
Ananias and Sapphira don't seem to be "bad people." They're like us in many ways. They might easily fit in with our small group or our favorite social circle.
But make no mistake--the minute we pretend to be something we are not, we start to die.
And so does our church.
Father, in a sense we are all hypocrites. Forgive us for the times when we have been fake Christians. Make us honest with ourselves, each other, and you. In Jesus, Amen.