Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Create Those 'You-Won't-Believe-What-Happened-Next' Moments

I'm a sucker. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. As everybody gets more desperate to have others click on their story links, the measures have become, to put it mildly, manipulative. For example;

A guy asked a girl out. What she said will inspire you...
An insignificant man started a blog. What he wrote about will shock you...
A cat licks itself. What the owner did next will amaze you...

The fact is, I click on more of those links than I am willing to admit. Because I want to be amazed and inspired and shocked. Sometimes I want my day to actually be made by one silly video. But what if what I have to offer isn't mind-bendingly awesome? What if what I have to give is just what you need, albeit something simple? 

I think I see one such instance from the Bible, in Acts 3. It could have been titled, A guy denies a homeless man some change. What happened next will change how you see life.

Pete and John were just headed to church, but you never know what's going to happen when you go to church. After all, this is God we're talking about, the too-big-to-be-contained, amazing-beyond-your-imagination, God.

As Acts 3 records it, they come across a beggar. It seems like an intelligent place to beg, with all the compassionate people coming and going. It actually makes me wonder why more beggars don't hang around churches these days. (I'm afraid the lack of beggars around churches may say more about the Church than the beggar.)

The beggar asks for money. He did so without looking up, perhaps to avoid the awkward stares of people who would rather not give. Peter asked the beggar, who also happened to be crippled, to look him in the eye. The beggar does so, hoping for some money. Peter kills that dream rather quickly, saying, 'I don't have any money, but I will give you what I have. In Jesus' Name, walk.'

He helps the beggar up, who decides to jump around, giving praise to God. He's in church, so it raises some eyebrows and things get interesting from there. (You can check out Acts 3 for the rest of the story.)

'But I will give you what I have.'

We read this story and only see that what Peter had to give was greater than money. But what if what we have to give isn't seen as greater than money? What if the beggar had looked at Pete and said, 'All things considered, I'd rather have the cash.'?

What if, for inexplicable reasons, the beggar decided money was worth more than the ability to walk? And what if Peter and John decided to withhold anything else, deciding that only money would make a difference to this man?

Then Acts 4:4 would not have been written. See, after the miraculous healing, Peter, ever the opportunist, decided to preach to the onlooking crowd. It actually becomes quite a spectacle and gets Peter and John arrested by those priests who felt their own power was more important than God's. But after all of that, we read this;

But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. ~Acts 4:4

That's 2,000 more than the previous update we're given on the number of Christians. It didn't happen because people gave a lot of money. It happened because one guy said he would give what he had.

Our attitude should always be, 'I will give you what I have.'

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