What I Have, I Give – Bright FridayFr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is Risen!
It’s always a quandary for me: do I give anything to the guy holding the sign at the side of the road or will I just be supporting his bad choices? I guess it comes from my days as a police officer. There were too many times we’d question these folks holding signs that said “Stranded Family needs your help” or “Will work for food” or others like it and we’d find out they practically did this for a living! One guy finally admitted he made about $25,000 a year tax free doing this!
But, then again, if I’m going to be consistent with my theology and not judge another, then I have to leave the actions of others to God. It’s good for me to be moved to compassion. There is precious little of compassion many times in our daily lives. And anything that keeps me focused on humility and generosity is good for my soul! OK, buddy, here’s $5.
Look at our lesson today in Acts 3:1-8:
IN THOSE DAYS, Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
Again, we are living in the afterglow of the Resurrection. If physical death has really been destroyed by Christ then what could possibly be powerful enough to get me to ignore that universe-changing Truth?
Of course, that’s exactly what the disciples thought as well. This ragtag group of terrified followers of Jesus have been transformed by the Lord’s Resurrection into a fearless group of Apostles sharing the Good News to everyone. And here, St. Peter confronts one of the many beggars at the front of the Temple. Of course the best place to beg for help is in front of the Church where the people are already turning their hearts toward God. As an aside, the truth is Christian people are some of the most generous people around!
And here St. Peter is confronted with a beggar who is lame. But Peter didn’t have any money. So, what did he do? He gave the man what he did have! And what he had was the Presence of the Risen Christ in his life. So, first Peter insisted the man look at him. Usually, our healing of our lives begins when we stop looking at ourselves and look at the person with faith! Then Peter told this lame man the truth. He gave him what he had. Then he took him by the hand and pulled him to his already healed legs!
Our spiritual growth, and, sometimes, even our miraculous physical healing, comes when we dare to ask for what the Faith has. It may not solve all our financial woes. It may not fix all our temporary troubles; but the Faith has everything we will ever need to heal our lame souls and give us the strength to make an open spectacle of God’s grace in our lives! If only we will dare to accept what the Faith offers us! Can you imagine if this lame man had told Peter “No, I’m just interested in enough money to eat today.” What a joy this man would have missed if he’d left his gaze on what he couldn’t do. He would have missed what was given!
Today, do you feel stuck in a rut in your life? Today, the Faith approaches you, not with what will make you happy, but with what will make you whole! And it begins when you stop looking down and look into the Face of the Faith and dare to be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Thank you to everyone who wished Fr. Barnabas happy birthday yesterday! We are taking the rest of the month to celebrate and we are asking you to help us celebrate by becoming a Patron supporter of Faith Encouraged Ministries. Just go to www.Patreon.com/FaithEncouraged and, with as little as $5 a month you can help us grow our media outreach! God bless!