INVESTING IN ETERNITY
Content To Be Counterfeit?
Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money and made an offering of it to the apostles (Acts 4, The Message).
But a man named Ananias – his wife, Sapphira, conniving in this with him – sold a piece of land, secretly kept part of the price for himself, and then brought the rest to the apostles and made an offering of it (Acts 5, The Message).
It is no coincidence that early in the development of the church we have back-to-back stories about the place and priority of finances. There is no progress, no ultimate growth, unless and until this issue gets settled.
In the first case we have a man who had discovered reciprocity. He really was generous. He understood that if others knew about his gift, and the spirit in which it was given, they would be encouraged. We learn by example in the area of financial stewardship just like we do in any other area of our Christian life. The spirit of Barnabas is the spirit of those who are not ashamed to talk about financial stewardship. It is the spirit of those who reluctantly allow their name to be used, not for their glory, but for the encouragement of others. It is the spirit of those who know how important it is to lead by example – especially in the area of finances.
In the second instance we have a couple that was content to be counterfeit philanthropists. They weren’t generous but wanted to be thought of as being generous. Unfortunately their spirit is still alive as well. I recently read that every year U.S. workers steal more than $16.7 billion of church and mission funds in an average year, around the world. That’s billion with a “B”.
Every time we give – especially over and above giving - we are provided an opportunity for prayer and introspection that ultimately can catapult our spiritual life forward and produce contentment that can only come from God.
You may keep your giving to yourself. However, for the truly generous, you’ll deprive others from learning and being encouraged by your example.
Those content to be counterfeit will learn for themselves that a counterfeit contentment is no contentment at all.