“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.” (Acts 3:6, AV)
In my last pastorate, the church had a soup kitchen. I guess the term soup kitchen does not do justice to what the church was doing. Every Tuesday, they would serve a full hot sit-down meal to a group of people who were poor and needy. There were up to a hundred or so in attendance. At meal time, I would go down to the place where we served and prior to the meal, I would speak from the Bible and pray for them.
As our guests were eating, I would normally sit with them and discuss the issues of life and the Bible. On occasion, they would ask for money to help them. Our church policy was not to give money from the church budget to people outside the church, but to use our budget to continue feeding people a good meal. Yet, on occasion, I would be convinced that their request was legitimate and I would do what I could from some of the money I had received from doing weddings and funerals.
So, we helped people the best we could as a church. However, the big question is this. Did we really help people with their greatest need and did we give them the most valuable thing that they could ever receive? This episode in the Book of Acts answers this question.
Here, Peter and John encounter a man lame from birth and begging for money. Peter looks at the man and makes this statement, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” What did Peter have to give? He had something to give that was infinitely more valuable than money. He had a message of hope and healing. Peter states, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” At this, the man rose and did walk.
As we gaze at our world, we see a world full of broken people. People are afflicted by a sin fallen world. They are without hope and doing whatever they think is best to cope. We who have Christ know that He alone is our hope. Christ heals the broken and raises them up in the midst of the sin fallen world. Christ gives us joy. Christ directs us in life to move to great heights.
We who God has saved have the only message of hope for the afflicted and broken. What we have is infinitely more valuable and profitable than silver or gold. Often, we give money and services to help the poor. This was the purpose of our soup kitchen and food pantry. In the church, we helped those with needs. We donated goods to shelters and homes. Yet, while we should not stop doing these things, we should consider the relative value of these things versus the infinite value of the gospel message. The material help we give people is only temporal. It is here today and gone tomorrow. However, when we give them the message of hope, we give them something that will infinitely bless them for all eternity. For Jesus is our living and resurrected hope.
When we present this message, we have given something that money cannot buy. Some of the people may receive the message, get up, and walk with Christ. Others may choose to continue in their brokenness. We should not fret over who will stand and who will not. We should just continue to share the most valuable message that anyone could ever hear. Jesus Christ came to save sinners.