“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17).
Every good and perfect gift is from God, our never-changing Father-Creator who loves us and gives us good gifts. My life, my family, our home, my job, my friends… The list goes on. Even when I don’t want to call it “good” or even less “perfect,” God has given the gifts. And I have the privilege of using them for His glory.
You and I may work hard, but the course of our lives has been directed by God. Where we were born, into our families, how that shaped us… all His gifts. Our jobs and income sources… His gifts. Sometimes the gifts can be harder to spot, especially when packaged with adversity, but they’re there for those who will excavate diamonds from coal.
Today’s passage includes two examples of people using their God-given gifts. Barnabas encouraged the early Church with his generous gift. Ananias and Sapphira were dishonest about their gift – it was theirs to use as they discerned God’s leading, but they wrongfully presented it as the full amount in order to keep up appearances with the other believers. They paid a heavy price for their misuse of God’s gifts.
What is one of your favorite possessions, and what makes it precious to you?
Read Acts 4:32-5:11.
Describe the believers’ life together (vv. 32-35).
Compare and contrast Barnabas and Ananias (vv. 4:36-5:2).
What could Ananias and Sapphira have done differently?
How do the believers feel about these events (vv. 5, 11)? Explain.
Describe the Spirit’s role in this passage.
How can keeping up appearances get in the way of God’s work?
How is witnessing to Jesus’ resurrection related to caring for those in need? How can you be involved in both?
What from this passage challenges you to consider your attitude and actions regarding money/possessions?
What is Jesus saying to you through this passage and how will you respond?
Pray that God will help you to apply His Word to your lives this week.
Ask God to unify your believing community in heart, mind and mission in the name of Jesus.