Summary: Couples, Pt. 9
EYES WIDE OPEN (ACTS 4:32-5:11)
Stumpy and his wife Martha went to the State Fair every year. Every year Stumpy would say, “Martha, I’d like to ride in that airplane.” And every year Martha would say, “I know, Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”
This one year Stumpy and Martha went to the fair and Stumpy said, “Martha, I’m 71 years old. If I don’t ride that airplane this year, I may never get another chance.” Martha replied, “Stumpy, that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”
The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, Ill make you a deal. Ill take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you, but if you say one word its ten dollars.”
Stumpy and Martha agreed and up they go. The pilot does all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard. He does all his tricks over again, but still not a word.
They land and the pilot turns to Stumpy, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.” Stumpy replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, but ten dollars is ten dollars.”
The early church in Jerusalem was going through a sustained and incredible period of growth. New believers were added, the fellowship was great and the church was strong. However, not all things were rosy, not all motivation was admirable and not all were converted. Before long, hypocrites, imitators and wannabes were part of the fellowship of the church but not the body of Christ. Distinguishing tares from wheat and goats from sheep before the right time is not impossible, but it is inadvisable. Just before the church received her name and was called as such (v 11) for the first time in the community, an extraordinary but sad and unfortunate incident occurred among the local congregation. Money brought out the ugly side of a couple by the name of Ananias and Sapphira, who played the imitation and impersonation game to perfection and disaster. They thought their secret was safe, they should be praised and nobody would find out.
How could couples be so self-centered and in such self-denial and have no self-awareness after years of marriage? How could two people go so wrong? Why is honesty important to one’s family as well as God’s family?
CHOOSE EACH OTHER FOR THE BETTER, NOT WORSE
5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 5:1-2)
What do you look for in a marriage partner? The advice from the Internet on whom to marry is surprisingly rich:
“Don’t marry a man to reform him - that’s what reform schools are for.” (Mae West)
“Don’t marry a lady just to get a travel visa.”
“Don’t marry a rich man. Become rich and choose who you marry if you want to
“Don’t marry a nonbeliever. Fast and pray until he becomes a Christian.”
“Don’t marry a man unless you are willing to be with him if he never changes.”
“Don’t marry a man as a project; don’t assume you can change him once you’re
“Don’t marry a homicidal maniac who’ll pour petrol all over your house, and then knock a lit match onto it.”
“Don’t marry a man “to save him.”
“Don’t marry a bar girl!”
“Don’t marry a woman who drinks a lot.”
“Don’t marry a person you don’t love.”
“Don’t marry a jerk.”
“Don’t marry a man for his money. You can borrow it cheaper.”
In the words of a country music song: “Don’t marry a drunkard, don’t marry a scolding woman.”
“Do not marry a woman because she is young or beautiful or can have babies. A woman is not goods.”
There is truth in the theory that good people are attracted to bad dates and mates. Some of the nicest people are attracted to addicts, abusers, gangsters, gamblers, womanizers, swingers, bums, perverts and criminals. Some of these suitors are high maintenance, some are lowlifes and some are drifters. The pull to change and rehab scoundrels is romantic and idealistic, but unrealistic and fatal.
Husbands and wives choose each other or choose their spouses for their own good or to better themselves, and not for “no-good” or to their detriment. Ananias and Sapphira’s story is one of double trouble, blind leading blind and fools rushing in. They were not good for each other; in fact, they were bad, toxic and unsuited for each other. Marriage did not bring out the best in them, but the worst in them – and it was downright ugly, unbearable and superficial. They did not push each other to new heights, but pulled each other down to new lows. They did not bring out the good or the best in each other but the bad and the worst in each other.