A Parody on Acts 5:1-11
My Thoughts. . .
The news media thought it was a hot topic and printed it. Those involved were the toast of the town, with their socialite fingers in a lot of pies. His family, as well as hers were on the Social Registry. The governor as well as State and Federal politicians called them by their first names. Their house was always the center of social events of one kind or another. They were people that got the job done. If you wanted something important taken care of, you always went through them. They had property. They owned multiple enterprises. He had a great mind for business and knew everything about investments. He was the Midas of the city and State.
They both attended the assemblies of the local congregation. Members were always happy to see them attend. The local church budget was well supported by their contributions. The elders, deacons, members, and staff thought the world of them. The local newspaper had reported on a specific Sunday that this couple had attended. Then they had produced a follow-up story using interviews of different members who were present on that day.
Due to Sunday being a workday, and a sizeable number of the members working, the assembly was what some referred to as a “come-and-go” service. Members would come in and stay for a short period, then exit on their way back to work. The husband arrived in time before the contribution was taken. He and his wife wanted to make a sizeable offering of money they had received from the sell of a large piece of property. At the last minute something came up so she could not go with him, but would attend as soon as possible.
The congregation had not entered the twenty-first century, so their way of taking up a contribution was a little different. Men were not selected to go through the audience and take up the offerings. Instead, each giver would walk forward toward the preacher and lay his gift at the preacher’s feet. This man walked toward the preacher. All eyes were on him. Folks knew he was a generous giver. Usually his contribution would be more than what forty or fifty others would give. They didn’t know about the property sale and the amount he and his wife were going to give that morning.
He placed his contribution close to the preacher’s feet. The preacher looked down, then at the man. He asked him if he was giving all the money from the recent sale of some of his property. He responded with a huge smile first then replied in the affirmative. The preacher asked why he was lying. The man’s smile evaporated and every mouth in the assembly dropped open. The man and his wife had agreed to give a large amount, but not all of the price they have received from the sale. The man suddenly went limp and was dead before his body hit the floor. Those opened mouths began working. Shock turned to questions. Deacons who seldom did much during an assembly were commissioned to take the body, dig a grave, and bury it. They complied although it would cause them to miss the first serving of the communion. Later, the wife came in. She knew what her husband had done so when all eyes were on her entrance, she wasn’t surprised but enjoyed their attention. After all, she and her husband had given a tidy sum of money that morning. The preacher questioned her. She too dropped dead. The burial party enter in time to take her body out for burial. Some of the deacons mentioned that they would miss out on the second serving of the Lord’s supper. Oh well, they’d be back in time for the third serving.
After the services were concluded concerned members huddle in small groups. The morning’s occurrence was the topic of discussion. Most had seen the reporter making notes when both husband and wife dropped dead. Two dead in church because what they gave wasn’t the whole amount of the sale? Everyone does that, it just isn’t that large of a contribution. How is this going to affect future attendance? If attendance drops, contributions will too. How will the church pay its bills? How is this going to affect their evangelistic program? Who will want to be a member of a church that kills its influential givers? Discipline is good, but this is too extreme. What kind of name will the church get from the city and state? Not even the pagan religions do such a thing to their members. Pressure increases and is dumped upon the shoulders of those who rule.
The next Sunday one officer of the church stood up to make a very important announcement concerning church discipline. All pews are filled. Standing it too crowded. Gossip is tantamount. Whispers are rampant. Silence is called for and finally achieved. The officer announces that the congregation believes in practicing church discipline, but the congregation has decided that all further disciplinary actions needs to be administered with love. That’s why, from the first century to this date in 2020, no one has been questioned about his contribution and no one has died “in church” from such questioning.