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. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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. – Acts 3:1-10
I have a pet pieve. When people say that they don’t want to share the gospel with someone lest they lead that person astray. “I don’t want to lead someone to hell,” they say. No doubt. But a follower of Jesus, one who believes in his name, can certainly give a friend, family member of coworker a simple witness: “This is what I’ve learned/experienced/believed. Want to explore more about that with me?” The door is open for further conversation and mutual learning.
It’s all about giving what you have, and not what you don’t have. Suppose you don’t have all the intricacies of the communication of attributes within the Trinity? Do you at least know that we name our (triune) God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Perhaps you don’t really understand how God created the world, or how it all fits in with the challenges of modern secular science. Can you still say, “I believe that God made me and all that exists.”? There are no doubt a million reasons not to say something to someone about Jesus. I’m not sure any of them are valid – given the opportunity. And when we do, we simply give what we have.
That’s just what Peter did here in this encounter. Admittedly his theological depth of understanding was out of our league. Truly he had an incredible advantage of being taught directly by Jesus. No doubt the freshness of the Holy Spirit’s influence on him was lingering in his heart. All that, however, made possible to give to the blind man something better than the alms he was begging. Peter had something better than silver or gold, and he shared it in a mighty and amazing manner with this man.
Next time someone is in need, and asking you for help. Give what you have. It may be financial help. It may, on the other hand, be an offer to pray, or a long coffee break of listening and caring. It may even be a simple formula: I don’t have an answer to your problem, but I do know that God cares about this. Could we pray about that now? It might even be an offer to help someone let go of hostility, bitterness, resentment, or shame. It might be that the message of God’s love, forgiveness and salvation could bring a person to their feet in praise and joy…all because you gave what you have.