We become accustomed to our condition, having no hope that anything will ever be better. We often think money is the answer, but it’s usually not the answer. This week’s sermon took a look at the crippled beggar who waited by the gate called Beautiful for people to throw him their change.
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer — at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.Acts 3:1-3
The crippled man was used to people throwing him money so that he could pay for the minimum to keep himself alive.
4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ”Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.Acts 3:4-5
He simply expected money as the thing they could offer him. At this point, he has no self-esteem to even look people in the eye. He’s been beaten down so much that he doesn’t even look up. The charity he’s used to getting is dehumanizing.
God doesn’t tell us he’ll give cash to solve problems. He has much better ways of providing solutions to our problems. He can provide in ways we never imagined.
As we provide help to others in need we must be careful to realize that hopelessness may be all they know.
Then Peter said, ”Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”Acts 3:6
They have no money, but in the name of Jesus, Peter tells him to walk. When he learns they have no money he may have felt like they didn’t care about him.
Peter and John wanted something greater than supporting the man in his condition. They wanted to transform his life by the power of the risen Jesus Christ. Some have settled for life outside the gate hoping for the same thing and nothing ever changes. Peter confessed that he had no money. Not exactly a moment of pride, but he didn’t use that as an excuse for doing nothing.
Peter gave the lame man power in the name of Jesus, what he did have. But he could only give the power if he had it first. It’s the same for us. We can’t give what we don’t have. We can’t receive if we don’t believe. We have to be willing to extend a hand to others when we have the opportunity.
7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.Acts 3:7
Peter takes his hand and his ankles gained strength. We have to encourage and help, reaching out to others. The willingness to respond with everything you are to the person who comes into focus as you brother or sister.
8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to set begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.Acts 3:8-10
It was important that the man continues to walk, otherwise he would return to begging. It’s the same for people today. When we’ve had our sin forgiven we must live a new life putting the old behind us. We can’t continue committing the old sin over and over repenting means we have to change something. The healed man stayed with Peter and John, dancing, jumping and rejoicing!
In the same way, we have to extend a hand with whatever we have to offer. We may not be able to solve someone’s problems with money, but that’s not what God promises. He’s much more creative than that!
Takeaways from this sermon:
- God doesn’t ask you to do anything other than what you can do.
- But He does ask you to do that.
- And He will give you ample opportunities to do that if you’re looking.
- Christian action is the willingness to respond to the needs around you with that which is uniquely you.
What gifts do you have that can reach out to others to give them hope? It may be much simpler than you imagine.