One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. 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. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 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.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Acts 3:1-7
The lame man’s highest hope that day was simply for a generous handout, but Peter and John were carrying something far more valuable. Peter says, “What I have I give you”.
Throughout the Bible, God asks people to give what they do have. Pastor Michael has been telling us about Moses who has a staff, and God uses it to perform signs in front of Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:2) The Missionary Angel Sigui who recently visited our church was telling us about a young boy who had a small picnic lunch and Jesus used it to feed 5000. (John 6:9-11) I was reading during my quiet time the other day about a widow who had just two copper coins, and Jesus said it was the biggest gift of all. (Mark 12:41-44)
Is anyone asking anything of me at this time that I simply can’t give? Do I dare to admit my lack of resources to them as clearly as Peter in this story? And what is it that I do have to offer them instead?
Some scholars are intrigued about Peter saying here ‘What I do have I give to you’. They wonder why he doesn’t simply say, ‘What Jesus has given me I give to you’. Doesn’t his posture seems overly assured? But of course Peter has this extraordinary confidence because he has received power and authority from the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
It’s easy for us to shrug this off though. Of course he has this kind of confidence - he is the apostle Peter after all. But Peter has the confidence of the Lord for more than just himself but also for others. He has walked for many a day with the Lord who transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. He writes these words of encouragement to young believers in his letter of 1st Peter. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10) Perhaps I need to stop comparing myself to others, stop worrying about what I haven’t got, and start walking a little taller today, offering to others what I do have in Jesus’ name.
Father God, I give up apologizing for the things I lack, and instead take hold today of the things You have placed in my hand. Using the Apostle Paul’s words from Romans 12, I give you my everyday, ordinary life - my sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and I place it before You as an offering once again today.