Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WHAT I HAVE I GIVE YOU

A. Brother
©2009 Narrowgate Publishing

            “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ “                                     --Acts 3:6

          When I was in prayer this morning I asked Jesus what I should do right now in light of my present, very limiting circumstances.  A phrase came into my mind.
            “Do what you can with what you have.”  I can’t claim this was God’s voice, nor is it important that I do so.  Because when I opened the Word of God to continue looking at the book of Acts, I immediately came upon this verse, and it was definitely the voice of God confirming what I’d thought.
            Isn’t this the answer to all the questions we have of God today about our circumstances?  Isn’t this the answer to our complicated and convoluted and confusing reasoning about what we should do today?  When we are frightened and confused, or lack any sense of direction, is it not because we don’t believe God is in our present circumstances? 
            We are just like the disciples, who were in the storm, and ran to Jesus and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us, we’re going to drown!”  And Jesus replies to us, like He replied to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” –Matt.8:25,26
          Let’s remember, brothers and sisters, that God was in the storm, just as surely as He was in the boat with them.  And our loving and kind Father is in the storm and in control of the storm, and our older brother Jesus, the Firstborn among us, is in the boat with us no matter how afraid we feel.

          What does God want from us in the middle of the storms of life?
            He wants our simple faith in Him, and simple obedience to His commands.
            When Peter and John came into the temple, they didn’t have any agenda or grand plan.  They were going to the temple to pray at 3pm, which was evidently their routine activity.
            Now Peter and John, though apostles and leaders in the growing body of believers there in Jerusalem, were poor, itinerant fishermen.  They weren’t even fishing at that time, but had gathered with other followers of Jesus and stayed in Jerusalem to obey the Lord’s command to wait for the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit had come, and the first gathering of God’s people had taken place.  The pure, simple life of this early group of Jesus’ ekklesia, which in Greek means basically ‘called out to gather together’, had just begun, and thousands of new followers were living a life of togetherness, love, joy and growth in Jesus.  They were poor for the most part, but were already learning to love one another and share everything together, so that all would have enough, and none would be in need.  They were learning Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom of God was radically set apart, and that they must be willing to give up everything for Him.
            Peter and John were teaching this life.  They came to the temple that day without worldly power or position.  They came without money.  They came without any earthly means of giving.  They were simple men who’d given up, who’d given up all to follow Jesus, and were now filled with His Holy Spirit.  Their calling had been given.  They knew what it was.  The storm was all around them, with opposition from the religious Jews brewing, and persecution ready to break out.  They were remembering daily all those things Jesus had taught them before and after His resurrection about faith, and love, and the Kingdom of God.  They were wiser now, and knew God was in the storm, and that Jesus would bring them through it.
            This is why Peter could say, with confidence He was doing the will of God:
            “What I have I give you.”
         
          This is our calling, too.
            We have nothing to give people out of worldly wealth right now.  Whatever I had at one point in my life is gone.  There have been times I gave out of my excess of money, or time. 
            But now, I have much more to give.
            What I have to give is Jesus.  I have His love, and His truth, and His heart of compassion to give.  I am His hands and His feet and His smile and His kindness.  I am His.  And He has chosen me to live His life in His place.
            This is why I can say with confidence today:
            “What I have I give you.”
          Like the earliest believers there in the teeming city of Jerusalem--meeting together in their homes, sharing bread together, learning about the Lord, reading the Word of God, weeping with each other, laughing and sharing joys with each other, giving to each other as they had needs, gathering as often as they could because they couldn’t bear to be apart--we can have this same rich life together we are called to have in the Lord Jesus.
            Like Peter and John, we don’t always have money or possessions to give.  But like Peter and John we have life to give in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
            “What I have I give you.”
          Brothers and sisters, we must give all we have to the Lord, so that He can give, through us, all that we have to others.
            Today, what I have I give you.
            Today, give to others what you have.
            That is all Jesus requires.
                       

          

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