New International Version (NIV)
“Peter Heals a Lame Beggar
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 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. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 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.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
I’ve grown up around homelessness all my life. I myself have never had to experience it, but I’ve seen it often. So often, sometimes I feel, I have become numb to it. This scares me. I can’t become numb to this difficult part of people’s existence, I need to help stop it! To give where I can… This is why people like Beth (from my post on daydreaming) inspire me so, and make me realize there is so much more to be done and it’s the little things that count. Beth, Jeremy, Sandy, Chris, Ron, Charlene, Courtney, Colleen, Darrell, my mother in law Brenda, and many many more, they are all inspirations! They are all people serving God by serving the homeless in our neighborhood and city, every day. They work at Cornerstone Community Outreach, ccolife.org, if you want to see more information.
This morning in my devotions before getting to finals prep, I read the above section in Acts. I’ve read this and heard it probably a hundred times, but I have never stopped to think “what does this mean to me? what does it lead me to think about my own life?”… this morning, I did just that! v4 “Peter looked straight at him. He looked straight at him! Straight at the lame beggar, who probably looked rough and haggard, was most likely invisible to the rest of the world (but not to God). Peter and the other apostles had seen Jesus do this, and they were now filled with the Holy Spirit and serving for Christ on earth, trying to emulate His life to spread the gospel. Well, to be sure, I know I haven’t been given the power to heal, but Jesus heals through prayer, and I certainly have the power of prayer.
Usually these verses bring up a childhood song I used to sing in Sunday School and at home with my little sister, “Silver and gold have a none, but what I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! He went walking and leaping and praising God! Walking and leaping and praising God, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and WALK!” I think there were some dance motions to this from some kids sing a long video, but I don’t remember them. Anyways, as a child singing this, I didn’t think what the implications were, that these men had the power through Jesus to heal through the gospel and Holy Spirit.
I realized this morning that any time I walk to school or work and am asked for change, cigarettes, by men and women on the street, I’m supposed to “look straight at them” and tell them what I have to give. I have no silver or gold. I have no money. But I doI have (sometimes) some fruit to share, and I have (always) prayers and the gospel to share. Jesus’ love. We shouldn’t ignore these people on the street, the homeless surrounding us. It isn’t being like Jesus. It isn’t being loving, and it isn’t sharing the good we’ve got! So, I pray for the strength to take this next step in changing the way the homeless are treated. I don’t work all the time at our shelter, so I don’t have as much experience interacting with people who have been heavily abused and mistreated, neglected by society, exiled to street corners, alleyways and underpasses. BUT this doesn’t mean I get to be like everyone else. I have been called to love, and love is looking, love it praying, love is interacting. We don’t have to fear. God is on our side.