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God’s Provision (Material Blessing)

I have been looking at the story of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.  This comes in conjunction with getting my mind around God’s provision, and first giving to God what is his.   If you don’t know the story, I encourage you to read Acts 5:1-10.  Try the New International Version or read it in The Message.   

At their core, Ananias and Sapphira needed to believe that God was their sole provider, but they couldn’t.  They needed to honor their commitment to God, but they tried to cut some corners, instead.    As a result, they paid the price.  Although they died on the spot, the price wasn’t death, but eternal separation from God.  Let’s be clear about this:  They could have kept some of the money they gained from selling the property.  Certainly God would have permitted them, even encouraged them to keep some of the money.  What they should have done was praise God for the blessing, and then asked him to show them what they should give.  Regardless of the answer, they should have honored God by recognizing the blessing was from him and giving him what he asked.  I think they believed God wasn’t watching, so they decided to cheat.    

It came to me recently that God was probably going to use Ananias and Sapphira regardless of the decision they were going to make.  Up until the time they decided to cheat God, Ananias and Sapphira had a choice to obey and honor, or to cheat and steal.  They chose poorly.  God used their decision to demonstrate a crucial principle in the life of a believer. When I read:  “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events (Acts 5:11),I have to think that the “church” understood the message.  Isn’t a shame that sometimes it takes such fear to motivate us?  I believe that God wanted to use Ananias as an example of “joyfully giving” what Proverbs 3:9 calls the first fruits of all [your] crops.”   I am convinced God wanted to use them as a positive example because I have been on the receiving end of God’s blessing as a result of putting him first.   

I have many stories of God’s provision, but let me share this one.  Recently an opportunity came to sponsor a teen from Mexico.  He, along with several other teens, was invited to attend a youth conference hosted by the local mission (LaFuente).  The cost of the conference was $60.00.  Our church set a goal to sponsor 30 teens in the amount of $50.00 each.   My wife and I didn’t really have the money but we felt we were supposed to help out.  God had a plan.  God sent a “side job” that paid me $60.00.  This work came just days after learning of the opportunity to sponsor the teen.  We agreed that this was clearly God’s provision.  He gave us a heart to sponsor the teen.  He gave us an opportunity to obtain the money.  He gave us the free will to choose to give the money so that another person could experience God’s love.  He gave me $10.00 to buy breakfast.     Now here’s the good part:  With our $50.00, the church hit the goal of sponsoring 30 teens.  I don’t believe that God “does coincidences.”   God rewards the faithful.   

What strikes me is how this situation could have been the same for Ananias and Sapphira.  God clearly gave them a heart for ministry. (Why else would they have sold the land in the first place?).  He gave them the land to sell.  The sale of the land brought them a certain sum of money.  All they needed to do was seek after God and give what they felt led by him to give.  Instead, they lied to God.   

2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”    Have you decided what you are going to give?  Have you prayed for guidance?  I would encourage you to do just that. 

3 Responses

  1. […] God’s Provision Part II (Managing the Material Blessing) Posted on March 26, 2008 by thereisnogray  If you missed Part I, you can read it here […]

  2. […] Managing God’s Provision Graciously Posted on April 1, 2008 by thereisnogray  If you missed Part I, you can read it here […]

  3. […] amount you would give and to whom.  You can read a few posts on managing God’s blessing here and […]

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