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DAY 18 – USING INFLUENCE FOR GREED OR GENEROSITY?

2011 June 18

A RICH AND SATISFYING LIFE

WEEK 3 THEME – RESPOND TO GOD’S LOVE

Woman on Trampoline

Do you ever want a “do-over”?  I sure did awhile back.  It was one of those rare afternoons where our house was fairly quiet.  My 8-year-old daughter and I were home alone.  Thinking I would be a really fun mom, I offered to go outside and jump on the trampoline with her.  She was thrilled!  My schedule had been very hectic the previous weeks, and we really had not spent much time together.  We ran to the backyard and started jumping.  Now I’m definitely not a pro on the trampoline, not to mention that trampolines are intended for gymnasts and the under 20 crowd.

I felt pretty good about my rudimentary trampoline skills until she started jumping higher and higher, doing splits, etc.  All of a sudden I realized our jumps were out of sync.  Each bounce I felt my legs a little more rubbery and unstable.  Finally, I lost control and fell with my ankle twisting unnaturally and pain shooting through my entire leg.  I could barely breathe much less talk, but I tried to minimize my reaction so that my daughter wouldn’t be too alarmed.  As I was lying there mustering the courage to gingerly exit the trampoline, I kept wishing I had a rewind button.  Surely, this didn’t just happen.  I was supposed to travel to California the following week for a speaking engagement, and I couldn’t imagine how that would ever work.  How professional can you look when you are hobbling across the stage from a self-induced silly injury?  Oh, how I wished for a “do-over”!

The woman in our story today needed a “do-over” for something far more serious than a sprained ankle on a trampoline.  Immediately following one of the greatest accounts of generosity in the Bible (Acts 4:32-27), you’ll find one of the most troubling accounts of self-promotion.  Sapphira chose to invest her influence for greed rather than generosity (Acts 5:1-11).  Let’s read both and examine the stark contrasts.

Here are your questions for today:

  1. Imagine the conversation between Ananias and Sapphira before they presented the deceptive gift to Peter.  How did they rehearse it and coach each other?
  2. Now, rewind the scene (let’s give them a “do-over”) and imagine how the conversation would have gone had they been committed to the same generosity as the believers in Chapter 4.  Which scenario would have led to a  “rich and satisfying life”?[The answer is pretty obvious since they literally dropped dead after the deception!  But challenge yourself to think a little deeper about what they were thinking before the dire consequence.]
  3. How could these verses apply to your current situation?
  4. What one thing will you do different as a result of our study today?

How did you respond the last opportunity you had to respond with generosity?  Do you need a “do-over”? It’s a wonderful blessing that our God is a God of second chances!

[Image by Tony Crider on Flikr.com, licensed under Creative Commons]

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