You have deceived not men but God. Acts 5:4

The book of Acts teaches us precisely how the early communities emerged : Through the labor of the apostles and the working of the Holy Spirit. Luke tells us about the first stages of the Church in the years following the resurrection of Christ. They prayed and asked for the courage to continue to do the work of God.

The whole community of believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed any of their possessions as his own; but rather they shared all things in common. Once again, Luke highlights the virtues of the first community and their  effort to have everything in common.

There was a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas who sold a field which he owned and handed the money to the apostles. Placing everything in common requires not only a spirit of detachment, but a sense of responsibility. Jesus had not asked for this; yet they were doing it, inspired by the desire of every true believer to suppress all boundaries between brothers, especially those created by money.

Another man named Ananias, in agreement with his wife, Sapphira, likewise sold a piece of land but aside some of the proceeds for themselves and the rest turned over to the apostles. Upon hearing the words from Peter; you have deceived not men but God, fell down and died. The couple’s sin did not consist in having kept part of their goods. They wanted to deceive the apostles and give the impression they were donating everything, when in fact they were not. Their deaths served as a warming and a sign.

Even God lends a hand to honest boldness.