In the book of Acts we meet two men named Ananias.
We meet the first one in Acts 5. He was part of the early church in Jerusalem. God was moving powerfully and the church was growing. The believers were living in communion with God and fellowship with each other and radical acts of love and generosity became common among them. People sold their possessions in order to give to others who were in need. It was a beautiful scene – one birthed by the Holy Spirit and His working in the hearts of these people.
Not wanting to be left out, Ananias also sold a property, but he acted deceitfully, giving a part as though it was the whole. It is very likely that what motivated him to do this thing was a desire to be well thought of by the apostles and the rest of the church without it costing him too much. His sin would cost him his life.
In Acts 9 we meet another Ananias. He lived far from Jerusalem, in Damascus. The Lord asked a hard thing of him – to go into the presence of a man who had travelled a great distance with authority to imprison him and many people he loved. He voiced his concerns to the Lord but when the Lord answered him, he moved out in obedience. Full obedience. He didn’t just go to the window of the house Saul was staying in and shout a prayer as he ran by. He went in, put his hands on the man and prayed for him. And because of this he has a mention in the story of the greatest missionary that ever lived. This Ananias was motivated by the love of God.
Two men, same name, very different stories. The difference is that one was motivated by a desire for his own glory and the other by a desire for the glory of God. The one seeking his own honor was brought to shame. The one seeking God’s honor was himself honored.
It still works the same way.