"SUCH AS I HAVE"
(Acts 3:2-6) "A certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
Several lessons can be gained from this account, such as: Here was a well-known person (40 years he had laid daily at the gate of the temple); he was known to definitely have a noticeable ailment (lame); he was not made to be a little better or promised that he would improve but he was healed completely and instantly and demonstrated his healing (vs 7-10: "immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.") This is so different from the pseudo healers of the present.
But notice the phrase "such as I have give I thee". The man wanted alms (money). Peter had no money but he did have something that the man needed. Jesus had given him a gift and that is what he used.
The apostle said in Galatians 6:10: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." The word "opportunity" is defined also as "an occasion." Generally, we think of this verse as teaching benevolence: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. The principle involved in the verse might include such but whatever the good is, it is universal in scope. In other words, what Paul is talking about is something that all men (rich or poor) have need of and that need is not, necessarily, food or clothes.
The lame man needed alms but what he needed more was the ability that Peter gave him. The poor man may have need of food and clothes but what he needs more than that is spiritual healing, the gospel. The rich man may think he has need of nothing (Rev. 3:17) but what he needs is the same thing the poor man needs, spiritual help -- the gospel -- good news! ALL MEN have that need and we must be looking for opportunities, occasions, when we can fulfill that need.
"Such as I have." What do I have? You may be like the apostle, ("gold and silver have I none") but "such as I have." I have the gospel committed unto me (and you) and it's like love: the more of it you give away, the more you have to give away. Jude, in Jude 3 says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
An opportunity comes. Peter, in another place (1 Peter 3:15), said be ready (prepared) to take advantage of that opportunity. Another definition for the word "ready" is "willing." If we are not prepared to "give answer" then we need to busy ourselves in getting ready. If you have never had a part in converting someone to Christ, you have missed out on one of the greatest thrills that can come to mankind. John said, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children (converts) walk in truth."
Now, don't take this article as an excuse not to do all you can to relieve the destitute. Remember that this is one of the bases on which we will be judged. Reread the scriptures in Matthew 25:31-46: Sheep on the right hand: "I was hungry and you gave me meat, etc." Goats on the left hand: "I was hungry and you gave me NO meat, etc.""Inasmuch as you did it (or did it not) unto the least of these, ye did it (or did it not) unto me." "And these (left hand, the goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but he righteous (right hand, the sheep) into life eternal."
Return to the Daily Devotions page