Vol.VII No.VI Pg.1
August 1970

Keep Up With Joses

Robert F. Turner

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) ... Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles feet. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet. — (Acts 4: 36- 5: 1-f.)

Ananias was not forced to sell his property — God did not impose a tax on either Joses or Ananias. When Ananias pretended to give all — as if to keep up with Joses — he was a pitifully self-deceived man. With his attitude, he would not have measured up to Joses stature, had he sold twice as much property and given it all.

Joses moved in keeping with the great grace that was upon the multitude of the believers, and if Ananias was a part of that mass (4: 32-f) he must have, at one time, had an unselfish regard for possessions. But he allowed Satan to fill his heart. Some have suggested that he coveted the praise (or recognition) given to Joses. Maybe so — but he didnt think enough of it to pay the price — and it may surprise you to learn that I am not thinking of the short-change in money. Ananias was trying to serve two masters. With Satan in his heart, there was no room for the grace that could make even a small gift acceptable. Until he would give himself there was not enough money in Judea to keep up with Joses.

Paul used nine different words to describe the assistance which gentile Christians sent their needy Jewish brethren. Grace, fellowship, service, alms, sacrifice, and the like — all saying something of the spirit back of the gift. (Even collection had a religious connotation, as opposed to taxation Robertson, Deissmann, Moulton—Milligan, etc.) Truly, The gift without the giver is bare.

Ananias couldnt keep up with Joses because he aimed at externals only. He neither understood the gift nor the giver. Conversely, many try to keep up with the Joneses and never perceive the folly of materialism.