By Donald P. Ames
Acts 3 records the account of a man who was born lame. He had to be carried daily to the gate of the city to beg alms from those passing by. I am sure if his life’s survival depended on his alms gathering (and from the text it indeed seemed to), he had given this much thought and planning. He would be quite concerned about which gate of the city had the best prospects, which means he probably did not seek out the poorer section of the city. He would be keenly interested in who would be the most likely to give so that he might be sure to recognize and call out to them when they approached. He might even be interested in what part of the day was the most likely for contributions. Would he need to seek someone to carry him early, or should he expect to tarry late as they were returning home? And what was the best approach to use to secure those contributions? Would some respond easier with this approach or that. In begging alms, much depended on proper planning and effort.
One day two men, Peter and John, came by, and he sought alms from them. As Peter actually stopped and noticed him, he was no doubt excited. He had gotten their attention would he go home that night with a few more coins? And then when Peter told him to “Look at us,” that excitement probably mounted in anticipation. They were going to give him something! He gazed eagerly, expecting a contribution. Then came those words, “Silver and gold have I none…” What a let down! Such great disappointment! Why had he taken time to notice this man if he had no gold or silver to give him? And, as Peter continued, “What I do have I give you,” his comments were probably lost in the moment’s let down. His words were striking the air somewhere, but falling on nearly deaf ears at this time. Then he heard him say, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Who was he fooling? Why did he think this man was begging alms? Walk why he hadn’t been able to do that since his mother’s womb! If only he could, he wouldn’t be begging alms and going through all this all day long. Who was he kidding! And yet, something felt different. And Peter was extending his hand and actually expecting him to take it and stand up. Could he really do it? Dare he try?
Imagine the excitement! He could actually stand! He could walk! He could leap! No wonder he was following these two men around. At this point, had someone offered the man a coin, he probably wouldn’t have even noticed it! In fact, he probably forgot about those he had collected that day already. Why? He could walk! Something new and ex-citing had happened to him! Something new now demanded his attention! New priorities! He entered the temple with them, praising God for the miracle he had received. Look everyone, he can walk!
As we go through life seeking the things of this world, they seem very important to us. We want to belong. We want to be popular. We want to look and do what every-body else is looking like and doing. But somewhere down the line, we hear a new message. It may not even sound all that exciting at first they actually want you to give up some of your spare time, cease some of your pleasures, and work at something new! But when you comprehend what sin and forgiveness is all about, it suddenly doesn’t seem like a sacrifice at all (1 Tim. 1:8-11). In fact, if you truly appreciate what you have discovered, you suddenly have new and more exciting priorities than the old things you may have been doing. How exciting! Salvation! Wait till I can tell others! How do I learn more about what Jesus did? And thanks be to God for his wonderful gift!
Are you still clutching to the old purse strings of worldly attractions, or have you gotten excited about what is now before you (1 Pet. 4:1-4)? What are your priorities? When we really realize what God has given us is real, those old “priorities” just don’t seem so important after all!
Guardian of Truth XLI: 21 p. 19
November 6, 1997