Many years ago, I was a single guy who wore contact lenses. One night I slept in a spare room at a friend’s house. Early the next morning I was having trouble putting my contacts in. I knelt by the bed so I wouldn’t drop a lens on the floor, and resumed my attempts to insert the lenses. Of course both eyes were watering profusely, and were dripping saline solution as well. (If you’ve ever had contacts, you know what I mean.)
Just then, my friend walked in the room to say good morning. He saw me kneeling by the bed with my face covered in tears. Assuming I was caught up in deep heart-felt prayer, he said “Oh, I’m sorry,” and left the room.
I’m ashamed to confess that I never told my friend the truth. I rather enjoyed being seen as someone who would wake up early and be so moved with holy passion that I’d weep as I poured my heart out to God.
Recently I was reminded of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts who did something similar. They sold a plot of ground for a price and gave part of the money to God’s work. No problem there… The problem is that they lead people to believe they had given ALL the money from the sale of the land. Because of this lie, God struck them dead.
Like Ananias and Sapphira, I was deceitful in order to appear more spiritual than I really was. Lucky for me, my only punishment has been a mildly guilty conscience for the past few decades. Maybe I’ll learn to be honest to God someday. At least now I know He can handle it.
(NOTE: Thank you, Terry B., for the reminder.)