EARLEY: Resurrection Disciples – Liar’s Dice
By Al Earley
There is a very intriguing game called Liar’s Dice. Everyone starts with five dice. Everyone rolls them without anyone knowing what they roll. Then the bidding begins. Let’s say there are 10 people playing. That is fifty total dice. The first person may roll five fives, and bid 20 fives. The next person calls them a liar, or bids higher. When someone calls liar, then everyone shows their dice, and you count only the bid number, in this example it is fives. If all the dice together don’t equal twenty, then you are considered a liar and you lose a dice. If you are right the person who called you a liar loses a dice. Last one with dice wins.
The fascinating thing is when people raise the bid but have no fives. Then comes the reveal, and you see who is lying and who is telling the truth. Most of our family is Christian, but not so when playing liar’s dice. I confess I will lie with the best of them, and do my best to deceive, lest I lose one of my dice. Horror of horrors!
Lying comes so easily. No one has to teach us what lying is or how to lie. There are lots of wise sayings about why we shouldn’t lie. Perhaps the most famous is the old proverb, “Oh what a web we weave when we practice to deceive.” Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Friedrich Nietzsche said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Alfred Tennyson summed up the little white lies well with these words, “A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.”
One would think that with all that wisdom about honesty people would rarely lie, but we know lying is at epidemic levels. We cannot forget we live in a fallen world because of Adam and Eve’s original sin. We have to be taught to love honesty and integrity, especially if we think we have gotten away with lying once or twice.
In Acts 5:1-11 we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira lying to the disciples. A new disciple, Barnabas, sells some property and gives all the money to the disciples to help take care of the poorer disciples in their midst. It doesn’t say that he received any applause for his selfless act, but those who were fed must have been appreciative. Ananias and Sapphira also sell some property. They tell the disciples they are giving all the money to the new church, but they withhold a portion of it. Holy Spirit tells Peter of their deceit, and they suddenly die when confronted with their lies.
Why did they lie? Perhaps it was greed because they didn’t want to give away all their money. Maybe it was pride. They didn’t have to give it all away, but said they did, perhaps to get notoriety like Barnabas may have gotten. Could it have been idolatry? They may have worshipped money too much, and just couldn’t give it all away, but didn’t want to admit it. Was it fear? Perhaps they were afraid to trust God with everything. No answer is given. We are left to reflect on what kind of disciples we want to be given that Jesus died for our sins and has been resurrected.
I have a few questions for you to reflect on that I hope will challenge you to want to be a resurrection disciple. Most people want to be disciples when they feel good. Resurrection disciples aren’t concerned about feelings. They want to be Jesus’ disciple all the time. Does that describe you? Have you ever been concerned about giving away too much? Have you ever wondered if you can give away so much that God can’t take care of you? When you read about Ananias and Sapphira did you think about your own giving a little bit? Did you feel challenged, convicted, or maybe depressed? What if God called you to give beyond your comfort level? Does God want you to be a courageous giver like a resurrection disciple would be?
When you became a Christian you signed up for a different economic system. Whether you realize it or not, identifying with Christ entitles you to a very special compensation plan. The world focuses on looking out for number one, resurrection disciples focus on looking out for others. God promises to look out for you when you do.
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.org.