Giving what you've got

"I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have, I give to you..." (Acts 3:6)

 Have you ever wanted to give more than your means would allow?  I'm not talking about buying something that you wanted and realizing that you didn't quite have enough to pull off the purchase.  I'm talking about those times where you see a need and in your heart you have a desperate desire to meet it.

There are people and circumstances that will cross your path that will force you to reevaluate everything that you hold dear in life.  It might be the family with the newborn child who is barely holding on in a neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital.  Or, it could be the friend with kidney failure who is desperate to find a donor.  Maybe it's the report on the news of children who have been found hungry and cold in an unheated apartment who now are wards of the state with nowhere to go.  The list is long of those things that grip our hearts, urging us to do something--anything--to help.  But what can we do?  What if we are scraping by on our own, unable to meet the financial needs of others?  And what if we all we can do is look on helplessly at a medical situation that we have no training or knowledge to even comprehend? 

Can we give or do anything when we are so limited ourselves?

Early in the book of Acts, Peter and John were heading to the temple in Jerusalem to pray when they encountered a man with great needs.  This man was crippled from birth and he spent his days at the gate of the temple begging for money from those who entered to worship.  As Peter and John approached the temple gate, this man caught their attention and asked for a handout from them.  But these two apostles had no money to give.  Following Jesus for 3+ years had given them purpose in life but it also had left their bank accounts depleted.  They did not have money to give to this man.

But money isn't really what this man needed.  A few coins were not going to help him walk again and, in truth, would only offer hope for another meal at best.  What this man needed was a greater hope that would bring purpose and meaning to his life, regardless of the situation he found himself in.  And Peter and John were more than willing and able to offer this man the greatest treasure that they could give him.

If you read the rest of the story, you will see Peter calling upon the name of Jesus which in turn brings miraculous healing to this man.  It would be incredibly awesome if we could all do that, just call on the name of Jesus and fix the physical ailments that are all around us.  Yet we can't lose sight of what truly happens in this story.  You see, this man was sitting outside of the temple begging money and no one ever offered to take him into the temple to worship because the man was not allowed inside.  Jewish law and custom forbade those who were crippled from entering the temple complex.  So by calling upon the name of the Lord, Peter was doing more than just healing this man physically.  He was bringing to him access to the living God.  After he was healed, this man entered the temple for the very first time and freely praised the God who had restored him and made him whole (Acts 3:8-9).

We should seek for God to be glorified in all of life's situations.  Give what you can to help the needy, pull alongside those who are hurting and wounded, and if your means allow take in those who are destitute.  We cannot allow our sometimes meager circustances to prohibit us from giving what we can to help those who have so little.

Yet we also cannot look past the most valuable possession that we can give, and that is hope in Jesus' name.  Into every life situation speak the name of Jesus.  We may be powerless to heal or to provide comfort and hope, but He is not.  He makes all things new.  What greater gift could we share than unfettered access into the presence of God found only in the name of Jesus Christ?

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