In chapter 7 of Acts of the Apostles (“A Warning Against Hypocrisy“), Ellen White addresses the love of money versus the love of God as exemplified in the lives of Ananias and Sapphira. White sets up their story by writing:
The record declares, “Neither was there any among them that lacked,” and it tells how the need was filled. Those among the believers who had money and possessions cheerfully sacrificed them to meet the emergency. Selling their houses or their lands, they brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet, “and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
This liberality on the part of the believers was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the gospel were “of one heart and of one soul.” One common interest controlled them–the success of the mission entrusted to them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused, was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value them earthly wealth. Thus it will ever be when the Spirit of God takes possession of the life. Those whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ, will follow the example of Him who for our sake became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. Money, time, influence–all the gifts they have received from God’s hand, they will value only as a means of advancing the work of the gospel. (pp. 70-71)
- What does my budget reveal? Do I love people and “the cause” more than I love money and possessions?
- If I want my life to tell a better story, if I want to live out my values of loving God and neighbor above all else, what can I do to begin changing my heart and my habits? What role does prayer, the Holy Spirit, and a faith community play in forming me into who I want to become?
- If everyone supported “the cause” with their money, time and influence as I currently do, how healthy would the movement be (remembering that the “widow’s mite” was more than all the rich people gave)?