From the chair:
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
I hope you know this story. It doesn’t end up on a lot of Christmas cards or Sunday-School-wing bulletin boards, but it’s one the Church should remember. As the Holy Spirit starts building his Church, God’ people start making some amazingly generous gifts; Ananias and Saphirah, wanting to get in on the excitement, sell their property, make a gift, and say that they gave much more than they did (“100% of the proceeds!”). Ananias is struck dead, not because he didn’t give everything he had to the fellowship of Christians, but because he lied to his fellow believers, more so, because he lied to God.
This week, we’ve had the chance to visit and learn about various ministries at our new congregation in our new home. There’s great stuff happening, and I want to get in on the excitement! However, this story reminds me to keep a close watch on my motives and my words. I don’t believe the story is telling me to do less or be nervous or speak in a self-effacing way; this story isn’t necessarily even telling me to do more. It’s just saying be honest with God. Don’t show up to get credit. Don’t jump in because I’m antsy to be recognized, admired, known. Be honest with God, and serve him with a humble, earnest heart.
From the desk:
“For a wish for friendship arises swiftly, but friendship itself does not.”
-Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics VIII.3, 1156b33-34, trans. Barnett and Collins
To all who have been praying for us these last couple weeks, thank you. Over Christmas, as people asked how the fall had been, I finally realized that I really hadn’t been up for the hard work of making new friends by the time we arrived in September. This quote from Aristotle stood out to me this afternoon, because it captures the irony of making friends: Eventually, you’ll end up good friends with some people who wanted to be your friends the whole time too; it just takes time.
These first two weeks of 2016 have gone about as well as I could hope. Thank you for your support and prayers–and visit soon!
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.