Acts 3:1-8- Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
As of late, I’ve really been burdened with this thought: “Am I helping the people that are placed in my direct path every day?” So often we want to travel across the globe or change our life entirely to feel as if we’re doing something purposeful. But, I felt God dealing with me about this subject specifically not too long ago. So when I read this Scripture, my heart felt such joy!
See, Peter and John were simply traveling the same road they were used to traveling. They were headed to the temple to pray. While on their set path, they encountered a lame man, longing for help sitting right there… just right there!
How many days have flown past us in which we didn’t “see” hurting, helpless people traveling the road right beside us? Have we been in such a hurry to get to where we’re going, so caught up in our earthly responsibilities, that we honestly just forget to look? And then, if we do remember to glance around, do we just say, “Hey! You should come to church with me?” And by saying that, do we feel that our “job” is done?
One thing I noticed in this portion of Scripture is that Peter and John, although right at the door of the temple, did not use that line. (Peter DIRECTED his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us. I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”) Peter was ready. He was attentive. He was anointed. He saw an opportunity to bring glory to Jesus Christ, while helping a hurting soul, and he didn’t let it pass him by! And because of the attention, the statement, and the actions they took OUTSIDE of the church house, a miracle was wrought in that lame man’s life that day.
And then- look at what happened next! (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 began to walk, and ENTERED THE TEMPLE WITH THEM, walking and leaping and praising God.” If we do what we’re supposed to do in our daily lives; if we allow ourselves to be led by Jesus Christ; if our lives are a testimony to the goodness of our God; those around us will want to come to church. We may not even have to ask! We can offer something else… exhibit something else… so powerful and full of hope that they’ll be asking us where to go!
Through that one act of obedience, a domino effect is sure to occur. I remember this saying I heard in Sunday School years ago, “You may win one that wins many…” People notice life changes… Victory stands out… Hope and peace are contagious… Whatever part you play in planting a seed that brings about salvation in someONE’s life, will be used to reach many more, so long as life goes on. (Acts 3:9-10- And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.)
While getting people to a church service is a fantastic idea, we don’t have to wait for that. God has instilled within us a power and an anointing to draw them to Him in the grocery store, on the side of the road, and/or in McDonald’s parking lot. YOU, ME… all of us were commissioned to GO and tell the world of the Gospel and the hope of Jesus Christ. Let’s follow Peter and John’s example going forward! Let’s stop. Look. Listen. And offer what only Jesus Christ gives!
Prayer: Lord, thank You for this example and reminder of what kind of power you’ve placed within me. Forgive me for neglecting to use it. Help me to change this beginning today and continuing from here on out. Give me Your eyes, to see those right on my path that need You! I love You, Lord. I’m grateful for Your relentless mercy. In Your name I pray, amen.