Holding Back

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”

Normal I AM

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Holding Back

When Jesus recommended to the rich young ruler that he go and sell all his possessions and give everything to the poor (Matthew 19:21-22), the young man did not even try. He held back from taking Jesus’ advice because he loved money more than God. In Acts Chapter 5, we see another example of how difficult it is for people to keep themselves from holding back in their giving to God.

Ananias and Sapphira were new disciples of Christ. To their credit, they did what the rich man could not do – they sold a valued piece of property. The intent was to give the entire amount to God, so His Word might be spread. However, hypocrisy crept into their hearts and their actions did not meet their intentions. This husband and wife team, reminiscent of the first couple, Adam and Eve, conspired together to hold back a portion of the sale price they received. Scripture tells us both couples were punished for their disobedience.

One of the truths we receive from this story is how God cherishes honesty. In the parable of the two sons, Jesus tells us He prefers the honest son who first refuses to work in the vineyard, but repents, over the son who says he will but goes back on his promise. The rich young man, like the first son in the parable, refused to do what Jesus had asked, but at least he was honest. Ananias and Sapphira, however, were more like the second son and held back on the promise they had made. God later demonstrates how He feels about those who go back on their promises.

People often sin by promising or claiming to give more than they are willing. It is easy to boast, but much harder to deliver. “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.” (Proverbs 25:14). Like many of their day as well as now, this couple was covetous of their worldly wealth and distrustful of God and His providence. They had made a vow to dedicate all proceeds of the sale to God’s work, but after the fact, their hearts failed them and they decided to hold back a portion of the money.

Because they loved money more than God, they decided it was too much to part with the entire amount. Perhaps they also had doubts regarding the apostles’ ability to use it properly, or perhaps they worried they might need it themselves in a time of future need. Whatever their reasoning, they did not take God’s Word that He would provide for them even during the rainy days that might come upon them. Thus, they decided to hold back, trying to serve both God and mammon. Instead of paying the money, they ended up paying with their lives (Acts 5:5, 10).

God demands His disciples to be Holy and Heavenly in their actions, including their giving. He is not pleased when we are double-minded and try to serve gods other than Him. He wants us to fulfill the promises we make regarding our giving to Him, and He wants us to do it out of desire. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Ananias and Sapphira had a form of godliness, but denied its power (2 Timothy 3:5). Does this describe you, too, with regard to your giving? It is normal to want to give back to God for all He has given us, but God wants us to honor all commitments we make. He doesn’t want us holding back on what we have committed to His Kingdom.

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ 

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