At the church that I serve as Pastor, we are looking at the book of Acts on Wednesday nights. This has been a good journey so far. We were looking at chapter 3 recently. This is the account of where a man who was lame from birth was miraculously healed.
We see Peter and John heading to the temple for a time of prayer. They came across a sight that was all to common: someone begging for necessities. There was no government welfare programs. People in this man’s condition during this time were at the mercy of those going to “worship.”
In verse 6, Peter tells the man that they do not have what this man wants (money), but they do have what this man needs (wholeness in Jesus). They tell the man to get up and walk. I can only imagine the look that the apostles received from this man. They were asking him to do something that he had never done before.
What happened next stood out to me most clearly. The apostles didn’t just tell this man a good message. They stopped what they were doing, bent their schedule, and actually helped the man to his feet.
How many times are we tempted to just pass on a good word or message and then move on our merry little way? We may see someone in need and say, “God bless you!” or “May the Lord be with you” or “here’s $5 to get some food,” and then we’re off.
I think that doing something is better than nothing. We could easily just walk right by and think, “it’s not my problem.” I would hope that God’s people would not do that. But what greater impact could be made if we took a moment and actually helped those who are down up?
I remember last year being at a statewide meeting for our denomination. It was in downtown of the state capital. When the evening session – which was a great time of worship – dismissed, many filed out to their vehicles to go to their respective places for the night. I noticed a man who seemed homeless asking for money from those going to their vehicles. Every single person just pushed him away. I was shocked that so many people that had just had the opportunity to worship the Lord were so quick to turn away from this man.
I went to him and asked his name. I asked him what he needed, and he said some money for food. He was indeed homeless. I was tired. I was supposed to be getting to my in-laws’ house for the night. I was supposed to be calling in and checking on my wife and kids back home. But here before me was a need that I could meet. Would it call for me to adjust my schedule? Yes. Am I able to help every single homeless person in that area? Probably not – don’t have that kind of funding. I could do for this one what I wished that I could do for everyone (statement credit has to go to Andy Stanley). I told him to get into my vehicle and took him to the local Taco Bell.
On the ride, I heard a little more of his story. He was not very receptive to Gospel talk. I just shared that I was a Christian and would like to help him because Jesus has helped me. I bought him a $5 combo meal. We parted ways.
Did he trust Jesus and enter the next worship service jumping and praising God with me? Nope. I do not know what happened of him. I do know that as I drove to my in-laws’ house that I felt one of the greatest moments of peace that I had in a while. I had been the hands and feet of Christ to this man for a moment.
Words are good. We need to share the words of hope that are found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Actions reaffirm those words. May the Church be the hands and feet of Christ in this world because nothing else will be.