21 August 2012

Of Keeping Back

Yesterday I was continuing an off-and-on journey through the book of Acts when I came, once again, upon the story of Ananias and Sapphira.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, this husband and wife pair were members of the early Church - a couple of the first converts to Christianity.  They lived during a time when the Church was moving in a mighty way.  Everyone was selling their possessions and giving to the needy among them so that no believer was forgotten.  This giving away was not a requirement to participate in the Church, nor were the members expected to live as paupers.  They were merely following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Ananias and Sapphira, however, seeing how a fellow believer, Barnabas, had sold his entire property and laid the money at the apostles' feet, decided they were going to do the same.  But, for whatever reason, they held back a portion of their proceeds.  Now, this wasn't their sin.  Where they went wrong was in their plot to feign self-less-ness and deceive the apostles into believing they, too, had given God everything - rather than just a part.

In the end, they were both struck dead by the Holy Spirit for their dishonest behavior.

As I read my study notes on this passage, this definition stuck out to me:

"'Kept back' (Gr. nosphizo) means 'to put aside for oneself, to keep back' in a secret and dishonest way."

Now I haven't sold my house to give the money to the poor and I haven't pretended to give all my clothing to the needy.  But I do keep back.

I keep back my possessions - the ones that could be of legitimate use to someone in need, but I hold onto it, because I might need it someday. 

I keep back my time - saying I don't have enough, yet squandering it as I surf the internet, gazing at items I don't need and can't afford or considering projects I'll never complete.

I keep back my energy - because I just don't feel like it and someone else will take care of it.

I keep back my money - we're trying to get out of debt, after all.

I may not be intentional about my deceit, but I do lie about my keeping back.  I say I don't have enough.  What I mean is, I don't have enough for you.  I have plenty for myself and I'd like to keep it that way, thank you.

What an ugly picture of the Church.

Lord, forgive me for putting aside for myself the blessings you have laid before me.  May I always be prepared to give the gift away.

1,000 Gifts:
779. Baby's pudgy legs curled up as he eats
780. The weight of a baby boy, growing slightly heavier daily, in my arms
781. Sidewalk chalk on a little-boy face
782. Two children putting laundry in and out of the dryer
783. A grocery basket full of reds, greens and yellows - healthy dinners planned
784. Her Connecting-the-Dots for the first time.  

Photos of Recently:
This past weekend was spent in Tulsa - so we spent a little time checking out the scenery, like the Tulsa Rose Garden.

And, of course, we played games at The Covenant Store.  Micaiah liked Caracassone, briefly.

Emmett struggled a little more, but he was trying.

 And when all else fails, we pull out the ipad - here's Micaiah's drawing of me, which I actually found quite impressive.

Emmett got to feed Joey for the first time.  Such a good big brother.

Whole 30 (I bet you thought we quit, huh?):

Day 10 -
Breakfast - Eggs, Strawberries, BananasLunch - Turkey Burger (no bacon), Tomatoes, GrapesDinner - Crockpot Chicken Carnitas, Romaine, Fried Plantains

Day 11-Breakfast - Eggs, Strawberries, BananaSnack - CashewsLunch - Chicken Carnita SaladSnacks - Raisins, Mini-Muffin (don't judge, I didn't have many options and these are made of nuts and I needed protein)Dinner - Rotisserie chicken, Plantain Chips

Day 12 -Breakfast - Eggs, Strawberries, BananasSnack - 1/2 Apple Pie LarabarLunch - Leftover Chicken, Veggie ChipsSnack - 1/2 Key Lime LarabarCashewsDinner - Grilled chicken salad, picante sauce (from QT - I picked off the cheese)

Day 13 - 
Breafast - Eggs, Banana
Lunch - Chicken, Grapes, Cherries
Snack - 1/2 Carrot Cake Larabar
Dinner - Spaghetti & Meatballs (minus the Spaghetti and without the Cheese and mushroom bits rather than bread crumbs)

Worst Part of the Weekend - Being away from home!  Being surrounded by all the things we never keep on hand (my favorite cereal, Hershey's Kisses, etc.) and having to resist.  Besides the fact that Vacation Mentality kicked in - you know the thought that you're on vacation so you can eat whatever and it doesn't count.  Only, everything counts in the Whole 30.  I had planned ahead and figured out meals to take with us, but then I got lazy and decided we could eat the same thing the whole weekend (Chicken Carnitas on salad) - which was a big mistake because we got bored of that after, oh, the second meal in a row.  So, I was torturing myself with the knowledge of all the great restaurants we don't have at home that I still couldn't eat at and not wanting to cook something healthy. It was bad.  Real bad.

Best Part of the Weekend - Heading to Whole Foods and stocking up on Plantain Chips and Larabars - maybe replacing unhealthy habits with "healthy" ones, but better than sucking down pizza, ice cream, chips and granola bars with reckless abandon (as I really wanted to do).  We were definitely in survival mode.

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