In the span of just a few months, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, rose from the dead and then, after forty days, ascended to His Father in Heaven; Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot among the Twelve (also called the Apostles); the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost and filled them with courage and strength; and now they were boldly proclaiming the message of salvation through the Risen Christ (Luke 24:1-8, Acts 1:1-2:47).
But the account of these incredible events as recorded in the Word of God was just beginning:
[One day] Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:1-10, NABRE)
All the crippled man wanted was alms. Just a few coins to take care of himself.
As two strangers were about to pass him, he asked them, as he undoubtedly had asked others so many times before, “Can you help me?”
What he received changed his life forever.
Peter calmly said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
And the man, crippled from birth, did just that.
Even today, almost two thousand years later, it takes my breath away.
“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Today, you and I can still help the poor, but there is also more, so much more, we can do – and God wants that as well.
From the verses quoted above, we can discern three such actions that we, like Peter, can take.
Sharing Your Time
When Peter heard the man, he stopped. It doesn’t sound like much, but he stopped. He didn’t ignore him or walk past him.
And the man’s life changed forever.
You may never heal a crippled man or give sight to a blind woman or cure a diseased child with just a touch of your hand. But, like Peter, you can stop and share your time with those who need the love of God in their lives (John 13:34-35).
Sharing Your Gifts
Peter had no money that day. But what he did have he gave – freely and lovingly – to the man.
You, too, have gifts. Some may be monetary, but you also have a bounty of skills, talents, and abilities that God has given you. And He wants you to share these gifts as well – just as freely and lovingly as Peter did (1 Peter 4:10).
Sharing Your Faith
Most importantly, Peter gave the crippled man the gift of Jesus. No amount of money, and no amount of work, can ever be a substitute for the life-transforming grace of the Son of God.
But there is a problem – as the Apostle Paul keenly observed twenty centuries ago:
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:13-14, NABRE)
What the Kingdom of God still needs is Spirit-filled Christians who are willing to share their faith – freely and lovingly – with those who do not yet know the Savior of the world.
You are such a Christian, and you can be a witness – perhaps the only witness – to those whom God has entrusted to you.
You don’t need a college degree in theology or a certificate of completion from a Bible study.
You don’t need an official title or a job description from a church.
All you need is love and the power of the Holy Spirit.
And you, my friend, already have both.
From this day forward, when God places someone in your life or in your life’s path, please stop. Please share your time. Please share your gifts. Please share your faith.
And then watch as lives are once again changed forever – one life at a time.
-- Dr. John Morris