Such As I Have
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (Act 3:1-7)
Can you see this scene in your mind's eye? Here is a lame man, reduced to begging for his existence, who has to be carried by others to a public place everyday just so he can beg. In his mind, what he needs is money for food and that is what he asks for. But Peter and John don't have any money to give him, so they apologize and walk on into the temple. And that's the end of that.
WAIT A MINUTE! That's not what the Bible says! But what I have written is exactly how most people are. One person asks only for what he thinks he needs. Not knowing what is available, he just doesn't ask for it. Another man, not having what is being asked for, just walks on. Often, a man thinks he doesn't have anything of great substance to give, so he doesn't do anything. It's the attitude of, "What I have is so insignificant that nobody could really use it anyway. Besides, it's not what people want, and it really doesn't amount to much."
Peter and John had something of great value: the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the power from Jesus Christ. Even though the lame man didn't ask for it, because he didn't know it was available, and even though Peter and John didn't have specifically what was asked for, they did something remarkable. They gave what they had, and what they had was far greater than what was asked for. That attitude of "Such as I have I give to you" changed everything. The lame man was healed.
But, that's not the end of the story and if you stop there you will miss the greatest part. It wasn't just that the lame man was healed, which is very good, it's what happened next that makes this such an important story.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. (Act 3:8-11)
Look at the healed man's response. He doesn't just say, "Oh, thank you, I can go out and look for a job now." He was jumping and shouting and running around getting people's attention. And -- Praising God. Even more, it got everybody's attention and they came over to see what all the commotion was about. Right then, right there, Peter starts preaching the Gospel to them. We often seek "signs and wonders" for our own sake and forget sometimes that the point is to bring glory to God and demonstrate His power to an unbelieving world. It's very easy to get kind of selfish about these things. We pray for God to do something to relieve the pain and suffering and then forget to use that moment to praise Him. The anointing of power given to Peter and John was for a purpose beyond merely relieving the suffering around them. It was given to them as a testimony and witness of the power of Jesus Christ to save. That is true of all the gifts we are given. No matter how big, no matter how small, the gift given to us is an opportunity to glorify God.
You may say that you have not been given that anointing and power that Peter had. You may say, "This or that have I none." But that is no excuse to just walk on by. Such as you have been given is yours to give to others as well. In a spiritual sense, we are all like that lame beggar. We are born into a world under the law of sin and death. We are all "lame" in other words, and must have the healing of God for our salvation. Some think all we need God for is to get by in this world. So, they only ask for the little bits of sliver and gold when they could ask, and could receive, the power of salvation and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When that gift comes to us, and we are healed of that lameness of sin, we should be running around shouting and praising God. And -- getting people's attention.
Each and every believer in Jesus has a witness and a testimony. God reached into your life, through Jesus, and healed you. He brought you out from the path to destruction and declared you righteous. He stands with you everyday, always there to listen and give comfort and guidance in your life. Such as you have, you can give it. You can tell the story of how God has worked, and is working in your life. You can leap and run and praise God in the open spaces. That gets people's attention, you know? It declares to those looking for hope of salvation that it is possible. It declares the glory and power of God to save. And, in so doing, you become His instrument in this world. You give notice to those who don't believe that they are wrong. God does exist and He intervenes for those that trust Him.
Like Peter and John, we may not have Silver and Gold in abundance to give. We may not have fine words, or beautiful appearance, or stunning prophecies, or detailed exegesis of the Bible. But, such as we have, we can give to others: The witness of what God has done and is doing in your life because of your faith in Jesus Christ.