I hardly ever encounter beggars on the streets. But in some countries, you can find them begging at the markets and shopping malls. Once, when visiting a neighboring country, my hosts told me that for my own sake I had to ignore the beggars. If I showed the slightest interest in one, he would pursue and pester me until I gave him some money. And the moment I gave to one I would be very quickly swarmed by many others.
In Acts 3, we read of a man crippled from birth. He had to be carried and placed outside the temple gates where he would beg from the worshipers going into the temple. Calling out to anyone who cared enough to stop and help him, he was just one of thousands of beggars who depended on people’s kindness to survive. Having done this for many years (Acts 4:22), he was accustomed to being shunned, ignored, and rejected.
But then Peter and John came to the temple to pray. The beggar called out to them, hardly expecting that they would notice him. Instead, they demanded his undivided attention, making sure that he knew he had been intentionally singled out (Acts 3:4). The man merely wanted money (Acts 3:5), but they gave him much more. They gave him a miracle. They gave him mobility and a new life (Acts 3:6-9).
We cry out to God to meet our needs. Often, what we think we need isn’t what we truly need. It’s something deeper. Thankfully, God knows what our real needs are. In His grace, God doesn’t just give us what we ask for. He gives us something immeasurably better (Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:14).
If I were that beggar, would I merely be asking for money to survive? Or would I seek what would allow me to really live?
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 23:1-16
Read Matthew 6:25-32 to see why we can trust God to provide for our basic needs, and read Matthew 6:33, 7:11, and Ephesians 3:16-20 to see how much more God wants to give us.
How have you become insensitive and immunized to the cries of people asking for help? This week, with whom can you share your “silver and gold”?