My family recently moved to a new town and into a new house. We had boxes, clothing, furniture, and all sorts of junk…I mean stuff…scattered everywhere. Most have had an experience similar to this one, and a select few have probably done this multiple times, but I have not found anyone willing to admit they truly enjoy the process.
After getting everything in some semblance of order, we sat down on the couch at the end of a tiring day and decided to watch TV to relax before going to sleep. It was then that a frightening reality momentarily confronted us: the remote control for the TV was missing. A frantic search ended quickly as my wonderful wife knew exactly where it could be found, but not before the boys and I lamented what calamities awaited us if it could not be located. Yes, I am being a little overdramatic to help introduce the point of this article. However, do not assert your family is immune to the brief panic resulting from a misplaced remote to the TV or some other electronic gadget. I remember vaguely serving as the remote control for my parents and turning the knob on our TV in my youth. Today, everything has a remote, and as Bro. John Deberry likes to say: “Today, everything in the house is run by a switch, except the kids.”
Well, this episode reminded me of the account recorded in Acts 5:1-11. You may remember this concerned the deception attempted by the husband and wife team of Ananias and Sapphira in regards to a contribution they made from selling a property. Reading between the lines allows us to see how Ananias, with the knowledge of his wife, presented the gift to the church and the apostles as the total price of the land sale. In verses 3-4 Peter rebukes this effort and tells Ananias he was guilty of lying not only to men but also to God and the Holy Spirit. He dies on the spot and is buried straightway. In verses 7-8, Sapphira arrives three hours later unaware of what had happened to her lying husband and is asked if the proposed gift was the full asking price, and she answered affirmatively. Peter rebukes her for the same falsehood and assures her it will cost her exactly what it cost her husband, and she fell dead on the spot.
What is the point of this episode? Certainly, it shows us the deadly folly of lying, but verse four provides an additional insight worth noting and remembering. Peter asked: “While it (land) remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?” (emphasis added)
Would this duo have paid with their life if they had only brought a portion of the proceeds and stated that they were donating, just for an example, 50% of the selling price and keeping the other 50%? I do not believe they would because Peter said it was under their control.
What are you and I in control of today? We can talk about the weather, argue about politics, and fuss about the decisions of a football coach, but we have no control over these things. Instead, let us seek to employ self-control. Seventeen times in the New Testament we are urged to exhibit self-control. This is the most challenging kind of control, but is the only control you can possibly and properly exhibit! Most of us realized long ago that controlling ourselves is a very tall order and we fail in many areas. I wish I had a mute button to turn myself off sometimes or a rewind button to go back and behave differently.
So instead of trying to control or manipulate other people or situations, try to demonstrate some self-control over your own life, including your attitudes, actions, time, talents, and such like. Don’t hide or misplace my TV remote either, I might have to get out of the recliner!