Series: Generous Living …a costly price

Scripture: Acts 4:32- 5:11

The recent interest rates bank act has restored many smiles on many Kenyans. All over sudden our loans could half in duration and amount. The most relief has come from just the idea that – the bank will stop making a kill out of people.

Unfortunately, the bank is just one example of many of our inflated aspects of our economy. At the heart of corruption are many cases of abnormally inflated prices and costs. Today, you doubt anything is really worth the price tag it has?  

It is common that when we come from the market place, we get into those interesting conversations of our experiences. One of those big questions we ask is “So how much did you buy it for? – Just then you realize you bought it for twice as much. What does that make you feel?

Don’t you hate that feeling that someone made a Kill from you, someone took advantage of you and you ended up spending more than you should.

But let’s turn the picture around, don’t you like that feeling that you have made a Kill, you have maximized an opportunity. Let’s be honest? That’s when we say business is doing good?

We continue with our series Generous Living, Blessed to bless. For those new, Generous living is about expressing the heart of God and finding true freedom by living life with Open hands. Open hands means a sign of surrender, a sign of gratitude and a sign of accountability. We began by laying the foundations that Generous living is about living God’s Abundant LIFE through us in our stewardship as a result of the Transformation of our lives by His LIFE.

Last week we tackled how do we go about Investments? We said that God expects a return on his investment, we are not merely to save but to invest. Not in fear, anxiety and worry but in faith, in love and in hope. The Lord will provide, so we can sleep?

Today we deal with the question of how do we win the battle in our lives between being content and wanting more? When everyone around us is making a Kill, maximizing their profits are we as believers to follow suit? As believers we ask, What is the right price? Are we charging a costly price?

My thesis is this In God’s economy- LIFE Happens, In Man’s economy Death happens.

Turn now to a story about someone who made a kill, Acts 4: 32-5: 11

Very grim story there.

A very quick background here, the book of Acts paints the beginnings of the early church back in Jerusalem after the Pentecost. God’s spirit was evident in the lives of believers and a new way of Living started.  Cultural, religious and even social economical boundaries were being broken and a new community was rising up with the Gospel at the core. The Christian community was also redefining new business/economic relationships. God’s LIFE in their lives was defining this community. We see a picture of how Generous living looked like in this community.

Read Acts 4:32-37

They lived with open hands, under the leadership of the church fathers (the apostles) they lived generously, they lived abundantly and the result is that there was no need among them and the gospel advanced.

We see here a powerful picture of God’s economy- they traded, sold their land and possessions, with the conviction that “All that we are and have has been given to us by God for the extension of his Kingdom and therein we find our enjoyment”. We see the example of Joseph, Nicknamed Barnabas (son of encouragement). There was no need.

Chapter 5 however begins with a big Contrast- But a certain man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold some property. After a scheme with his wife, they decided to bring part of the money and keep the rest for themselves. A very harsh conversation ensues and wrath follows.  A similar conversation happens with the wife later who without knowing the fate of the husband also receives the same judgement and suddenly there was death. We see here a picture of man’s economy?

But what was their sin to deserve such (ili iwe funzo kwa wengine) public wrath. Besides, isn’t it clear that they had a right to sell or not to sell their property at whatever price they wanted? After selling it, the money was also yours to give- How did this severe sin of lying to God come about?

Verse 7, is perhaps more revealing- When the wife was asked “Was this the right Price?” She said yes. What was their sin? Where do we risk falling in the same trap?

Their dishonesty reveals they had not understood how God’s economy works. They brought in principles of man’s economy. They wanted to make a kill for themselves.

I imagine discussion among themselves after they sold- Everyone is taking everything, why should we take everything, we can keep some for ourselves…let’s make a fool of them so that we can make a kill for ourselves.

This may have passed if they were dealing with man’s economy, but in God’s economy- You will not take advantage of God’s people and God’s Cause. Only God is the Hero in generous living, no one makes a kill of the other.

Prov. The Lord hates dishonest scales and dishonest measures.

This is what distinguishes us from the world, as believers we trade not to make a Kill, but to make a LIFE. The temptation like Ananias and Saphira is to be dishonest about our scales? This is the tension that arises when we are stretched with wanting more and being content.

In a world of dishonest scales, our hands begin to fold and hold back like Ananias and Saphira. These principles of Man’s economy cannot stand in God’s economy. Generous living has no place for selfishness.

In God’s economy, it’s not about making a Kill of God’s people, but in the example of Christ- dyeing for God’s people.

In which economy are you operating and what risks do you run-

Are you paying your workers as they deserved or are you making a kill out of them

Are you selling at the right price, or are you making a kill of God’s people

Worse still, are you honest to yourself to bring the whole tithe or are you making a kill of God

You can be sure that what God has died for, he will not allow others to take for granted. If God died for the church, if God died for the people, No one can take advantage and get away with it.

You may not die immediately in wrath like Ananias and Saphira, but you can be sure that something is dying in you. Your business, your family, your relationship with God.

Too often when we are motivated to make a Kill, be sure that something somewhere is dying in us. When we are motivated to make a Kill in business, we begin to compromise and kill our families, our time with God, and our own bodies. We throw in all our family assets and just then we end up losing it all.

But how do we as Christians stay clear of this path? How do we settle for the right price, How do we maintain a balance of contentment in the things God has given us and still be productive and hopeful at work? How do we keep ourselves from the motivation of making a kill to the motivation of saving a life?

The answer lies back in the first part of this passage: 32-35

What was it that Ananias and Saphira were falling off from- They fell out of Accountability. They fell out of the unity of heart and mind with other believers. When everyone brought openly what God had blessed them with, they decided to close up their hands in secrecy.

As I mentioned, sacrifices to God were such that they cannot be closed up. In early times, when someone went to the house of the Lord, His offering was very visible, because it said

‘I have no shame and I have no pride, this is truly what God has given and this is truly what I give to God’ in other words everything was open to God and fellow community. There is no shame where there is Truth. This is the ‘honest scale/price’ of my offering.

How do we teach our children to tithe, if we don’t involve them in the calculations of how much how much we earn?

Who have you invited alongside you to keep you on track with the ‘right price’, when we withdraw from accountability we move away from God’s economy of light and move into man’s economy of darkness.

Every one’s gift counts, if the scale is Truth. You may be earning less or more, but if given in Truth- There is no Shame or Pride. We are not insecure.

Contrary to what we may hold today, Giving was never a secret issue? Generous Living is a journey of walking with others in the light. Apart from yourself who else can confirm the honesty of your scales when it comes to giving?  

As a couple could you consider one other couple, soul mate or even as each other as friends about your scales- Because left on our own, we are inclined to want to ‘make a Kill’

But we must not confuse biblical accountability with philanthropy and showing off. How do we go about biblical accountability in any area of our lives?

Live in the light, stay in the light- are there practices, people or thoughts in our life that belong to a secret space. Secrecy is an indication of fears, shame and others. Appropriate the Cross and live in the light not in the darkness. Christ came to redeem us from darkness. Do you have a night company? Or a Light company?

Live in the Truth– Truth is about God. Practice speaking and seeking the truth. The reason testimonies are declining is sometime we fear being misjudged as boasting- boasting is when it’s about us- e.g. when Sonko comes to declare his wealth, but Testimony is about God. It’s not in the how much but in who gets the glory. If God has blessed you with a car, tell us about the God who has blessed you with the car more than you who has received the car.

Confession, James 5:16 is very clear Confess your sins to one another and you can be healed. If you want forgiveness ask God, if you want healing Confess to another. A lot of addictions and wanting to make a kill, continues because we lack someone to admit openly our weakness. You will be amazed when we confess our selfishness to one another, God brings healing in new ways.

So are you making a Kill, are you charging costly, are you living in God’s economy or in man’s economy. Remember in God’s economy LIFE is made, In man’s economy life is lost.

For this week’s study guide well send you questions to ask God? Join a life group to get the most of this series.

Generous Living Prayer

I am blessed of the Lord, to be a blessing to the Nations, God’s LIFE is my all sufficient Resource. All that I am, all that I have, I give for the extension of God’s Kingdom. With Open hands I give to the Lord and with open hands I receive from the Lord. Be it unto me according to your word. Amen.

Study guide questions:

In what ways have you found yourself wanting to ‘make a kill’

Who else can I enjoin in my Generous living journey to keep me accountable

What practical measures can I take to keep me accountable- in truth, in confession, in the light?

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