"LANDMINES" is a new Gospel Family series, in which we examine Common Threats to the Gospel Family so that we might avoid the wreckage these landmines cause.
In Acts 5, we see a family explode from the inside out as they stumble upon the landmine of loving money. A married couple, living in community with the church, surrounded by believers, on a first-name basis with the leaders of the church, familiar with the teaching of the Gospel, still somehow find themselves enamored with the riches of the world. This couple, Ananias and Sapphira, give some money to the church, but lie about the amount in hopes of scoring some points and pats on the back while also secretly hoarding a bit more in their savings account.
Peter tells them that they have lied to God, and they immediately fall down dead. Now, while an immediate death might not always follow every act of greed or every lie against God, we do know that the wages of sin is death and that anytime we invite sin into our marriages and into our homes, we put our families on a road headed toward destruction.
Money, in and of itself, is not evil or sinful or destructive. In fact, there are healthy views of money that can actually help shape our hearts and homes in a manner that pleases God and find us reflecting a Gospel Family. We see this healthy view when a family values simplicity, seeks contentment, embraces stewardship, and celebrates generosity.
However, when temptation leads us beyond these approaches to money, we find our hearts leaning toward greed, covetousness, and selfishness. This is why Paul warned Timothy, "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils," and why Jesus taught, "You cannot serve God and money" (1 Timothy 6:10; Luke 16:13).
Over and over again, we read in Scripture about the ruin of those who had an affair with money, from the Pharisees who loved money (Luke 16:14) and the seed choked by the deceitfulness of money (Matthew 13:22), to Simon the Magician who tried to buy God's gift (Acts 8:20) and the rich man who traded a chance to follow Jesus for a life with his possessions (Matthew 19:22).
And this is a landmine still found in the front yard of homes today. The love of money and possessions continue to drown families in debt, harden hearts to the needs around them, push parents into 100-hour weeks at work, crush marriages with discord, and dictate goals and dreams and futures as eyes are fixed on investments, accounts, and retirement. We become slaves to money, possessed by our possessions.
There is another way.
Scripture provides healthy views of money that can rescue our hearts and homes. The early church demonstrated a life of generosity as they used their money and possessions to meet every need they saw (Acts 4:34), and Paul guided the church to be rich in good works, generous and ready to share, storing up treasure in heaven (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
Money is a part of life everyday, so it is inevitable that this year will find your family encountering these landmines one way or another. But if we hold all we have in open hands, submitted to the Lord, we can avoid the fall.