“So take seriously the story that God has given you to live. It’s time to read your own life, because your story is the one that could set us all ablaze.”
Dan Allender from To Be Told
We have come to a place in our journey, where I find my own heart bruised as tender fruit. The lame beggar placed at the Beautiful Gate.
One afternoon Peter and John went to temple for the three o’clock prayer. As they came to the entrance called the Beautiful Gate, they were captured by the sight of a man crippled from birth being carried and placed at the entrance of the temple. He was often brought there to beg for money from those going into worship. Acts 3:1&2 The Passion Translation
Four years ago, placed in a chair, I sat at my own Beautiful Gate, unable to find my legs. No strength with which to force them to move, feeling as if I was stuck in peanut butter. Bone cold weary, colored purple, it was as if they were not even connected to me. I was carried, tended, bathed and dressed, placed in chair. You will find more of that story here.
Lame from birth, carried daily to this place where foot traffic is heavy and compassion lacking. He was simply a body in the way. This man, carried every day, and placed at the entrance of the Temple to beg. Begging for his needs to be met.
We do not know his name, not much at all in fact, only that he has been lame from birth. Can you imagine the view from his prone position? Sandled feet throwing dust in his face as they passed by, children bending, peering at him. The belittling, the degrading, did he feel it? The humility it took to lie there broken, exposed for all to gape and gawk upon. Day after day, for who knows how long, this is his life. My heart breaks for him, and yet, would I have noticed him there, or dared to toss a coin or crumb his way? How many have I casually walked past without notice of their own broken life, so focused I am on mine?
Looking up from his low station in life, he sees the man called Peter approaching with his friend John. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope in what he saw, for he was not about to let them pass without first asking for help. I am left to wonder, had he already heard of Peter and John, the work they were doing?
The foretelling something big is soon to take place is told in the way he has captured Peter’s eye.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 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.” ~Acts 3:3-6 NIV
A command, followed by an exclamation mark, “Look at us!” Eye to eye they peer at one another, I imagine our beggar man holding his breath as he looks beyond his brokenness into Peter’s eyes. Does he realize what he is about to receive is worth more than a sackful of coins?
What follows next is some of my favorite spoken words found in the whole of The Word.
Peter held out his right to the crippled man. As he pulled the man to his feet, suddenly power surged into his crippled feet and ankles. The man jumped up, stood there for a moment stunned, and then began to walk around! As he went into the temple courts with Peter and John, he leapt for joy and shouted praises to God. ~Acts 3:7-8 The Passion Translation
Not only are these some of my favorite words, these are our action words. The words, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” With seven words we are either compelled to action or into complacency.
The urgency I feel to pose a few questions, is not one I can overlook.
First, do you have it? Do you have what Peter and John had to give? Does Jesus Christ himself live and reside in your heart? If not, and you want to know more about it, you can reach me here.
Second, if so, do we step out of the cute shoes of our comfortable christianity, reach out to the broken and offer to share it with them?
This thing that we have, the hope of salvation and life everlasting, it is not ours to selfishly keep. We, like Peter and John, are commanded to share what we have. Commanded to proclaim The Gospel.
I will be the first to confess, I am not good at this. I prefer to keep my feet solidly planted in my comfy cute slippered shoes. I can summon up a list of recommended reads at the snap of finger. I can give you a list of great podcasts to listen too. I can bend your ear with a good story or two. But proclaiming The Gospel, I tend to fall short of and a bit timid with.
The greatest thing, the most valuable possession as believers we can give is not our coins, though do not misunderstand me, there is a place for that as well, but The Gospel. If you were with me on Day 2~Taking and Giving The Gift, then you will remember these words,
I close today with this vision:
The lame man, lain at the gate, stunned for a moment as he jumps to his feet, feeling them for the first time in his broken down life. I see him as he leaps and jumps, dancing through the door of the Temple. Can you hear the gasps of all who witness such a miracle as this? I can.
And when I hear it, I am reminded, I have a story, The Gospel Story, I hold it in my heart and in my hand. Will I set the world ablaze with this story? “Be my witness, telling people everywhere.”
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I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor.
“If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook
Gifts of Grace