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Friday, January 14, 2011

Such as you have....give!

1-5One day at three o'clock in the afternoon, Peter and John were on their way into the Temple for prayer meeting. At the same time there was a man crippled from birth being carried up. Every day he was set down at the Temple gate, the one named Beautiful, to beg from those going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the Temple, he asked for a handout. Peter, with John at his side, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Look here." He looked up, expecting to get something from them.  6-8Peter said, "I don't have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" He grabbed him by the right hand and pulled him up. In an instant his feet and ankles became firm. He jumped to his feet and walked.
(Acts 3:1-8)

When we live in such a way that our lives are a testimony to a hurting world around us, we will always be in contact with those in need - our paths will PURPOSEFULLY cross.  God gives his people a sensitivity to the needs of individuals - not because we are better than others, but because we are connected to the one who can meet that need.  We may not even know the one we touch - but the connection with Jesus that occurs in that touch is what matters.

Look at the beggar.  He was taken to the temple daily in hopes that he would gather just a few coins from those going into worship that day.  Those coins would sustain him another day.  He had no means to get there under his own power - reliant on others to bring him to his "place".  In that placement of his cot on the ground at the temple gate, he was in the place where he constantly had to declare his "need".  Daily, time and time again, he would declare his need.  We would do well to take note of the heart of the beggar - not too prideful to express his need, not too complacent to do it again and again.  It is his consistency and his boldness that gets him noticed!

The disciples are on their way to daily prayer - a practice they had developed that they were consistent to engage in.  They had a "mission" in their walking that path that day - yet, the Lord had another "mission" in mind.  They likely did not set out to find a beggar - they set out to find some time with Jesus and in turn, came face-to-face with one in need.  It is not uncommon that when our "mission" is to seek Jesus, our path will be intersected frequently by those in need.  

The disciples are also consistently aware of their environment - they heard the request of the beggar asking for something to get him by another day.  The beggar's expectation was that his cup would be filled just a little - God's plan was to fill his cup so full that it would spill over!  It is often the case that we expect to see our need met one way while God has a completely different way of meeting that need.  There were likely hundreds on their way to prayer - the potential for a few "mites" being dropped into the cup was definitely a possibility.  The disciples probably had no idea that they were on their way to a miracle service - the beggar had no idea that this was his day for a miracle!

It took only a moment to connect the beggar with the source of all authority and all the resources for his need.  Yet it took both the sensitivity of the disciple's spirit and the desperation of the man's heart to make that connection.  We often call this a "divine moment" - the moment when God reaches deep into the place of a man's need and changes him forever.  The words of Peter, "Look on me", required the obedience of the beggar.  I imagine he had been so accustomed to begging that he probably did not really know the faces of his benefactors.  Today would be different!

His attention is turned expectantly toward the voice of the one he believes will meet his need.  Imagine his impending disappointment when Peter began with, "I don't have a penny to my name..."  BUT...imagine his rising faith when he heard, "But what I do have, I give to you!"  Oh, I am so overjoyed for those moments when God connects our seeming "lack of resource" with his great storehouse of power!  All God ever asks of any of his disciples is to put to use what you DO have.  We can bemoan all we think we DON'T have - but God wants us to delight in sharing what it is that we DO have!

In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk!  Those were miracle words to a lame beggar.  Those were "connecting" words for a yielded disciple and an expectant heart in need.  In that moment, God's power was released.  We cannot avoid the moment of connection - it requires our sensitivity, our willingness to yield, and our obedience to make the connection with that one in need.  It is our calling as his disciples to bring those in need into the place where they "look expectantly" upon Jesus for the provision of their greatest need.

You may not have silver or gold.  You may not have amazing glamor or glitz.  You may not have PhD or college degree.  BUT...such as you have, give!