When I was in my early twenties, I was newly married and had begun my first full-time youth pastorate. I found myself in a K-Mart parking lot just a few blocks from my house. As I was entering the store, I heard a voice from behind me asking if I could help. I turned around and saw a man who was asking for some cash so he could get a prescription filled at the pharmacy. We were in a transient part of town where there were frequent panhandlers. I thought to myself, this guy is just wanting my money. However, I actually had no money at the time. I did not even have a dollar on me. So I just told the man the truth. "I don't have anything to give you." Within the next couple of days, I stumbled upon Acts 3 and was wrecked by the action I should have taken. Check this out:
3 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
I have often wondered what would have happened if I had said, "I don't have any money but what I do have is a relationship with Jesus. How about I pray and ask him to heal your ailment or provide for your financial need?" Now the challenging thing for me is that this has not just been a one-time ask. I have probably gotten over a hundred requests for money over the years. When I am in my right mind, I always try to pray with them or tell them that I'll pray for them, and then I do it. How about you? When you are approached with a need that you cannot tackle on your own, do you care enough to ask Jesus to provide?
With sincere love for each of you,