Success in a Can: Acts 3:1-10

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

In our study of the book of Acts we’ve been parked on the way the earliest Jesus followers loved one another and how that changed the world. In the last post on Acts we looked at how love attracts, and how anger repulses. If you’re interested you can check it out here: Fighting Mad.

In todays post we’ll explore how Peter interacted with a lame beggar who asked him for money.

The Lame Beggar

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 3:1-10

Peter, together with John, was going to worship and just as he’s about to walk in, he sees a lame beggar asking for money.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter and John fix their eyes on the beggar and then they tell the beggar to fix his eyes on them. “Look at us,” Peter says.

Then Peter tells him that he can’t give him what he’s asking for because he doesn’t have money. But, then Peter says, What I do have, I’ll give you. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

Then Peter reaches his hand down to the beggar and he lifts him up. And the beggar is healed.

What Peter Had and What He Had Not

Peter had no silver or gold. But he had the resources of Jesus. He had what Jesus gave him. You and I also have what Jesus gave us. Jesus has given you and he’s given me resources. He’s given us abilities, and talents. And here’s the thing: It’s no good dwelling on the talents you don’t have. Like the man who only had one talent and buried it, it’s no good lamenting over what we don’t have or what the other guy has that we don’t. “What’s the use?” or “What’s the point?” These are some of the most destructive thoughts we can have. Entertaining a feeling of helplessness leads to paralysis. Feeling helpless is one of the most destructive feelings we can have. Those thoughts, that feeling, is what causes us to bury our talent. I’m an analytical so paralysis by analysis comes naturally to me. For that reason I find the parable of the talents terrifying. (Matthew 25:14-30)

But a friend of mine who was a Bible teacher has the answer. He used to say, “Success comes in cans.”

What he meant by that is this: Successfully allowing Jesus to work through you comes from focusing on your “cans” not your “can’ts.”

When the Holy Spirit comes, He’ll come in a moment.

Seize that moment!

Seize that moment with what you can do, even if it’s small. Small things count. Putting up a Jesus follower for the night, that counts. Even giving a thirsty Jesus follower a cup of cold water counts. Small things count. If you can do even a small thing: do it. (Matthew 10:40-42)

Be on the lookout for moments. Look for opportunities. Stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Live that way. Live in God’s Spirit. And then seize the moment.

That’s what Peter did. How many times had he walked passed that lame beggar as he entered the temple? But then came this time. Then came this moment. Peter, the beggar, and the Holy Spirit collided at that point on the space-time continuum and Peter didn’t concern himself with his lack of money. Instead he gave freely from the resources Jesus had given him. He responded to the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, he reached down with his hand, and he lifted that man up — even as Jesus reached down his hand and lifted Peter up when he was sinking. (Matthew 14:22-33)

Do What You Can (and don’t give a thought to what you can’t)

So what do you have? What resources has Jesus given you? Maybe it’s a technical skill. Maybe it’s a material resource. Or maybe it’s just that you’re available. Peter reached down his hand. Maybe you’re available to reach out with the right hand of fellowship. (Galatians 2:9)

There are so many who are hurting right now. Maybe the greatest gift you can give, maybe the best way to communicate the love of Jesus is to connect with the right hand of fellowship, to become a good friend, to love someone as your brother or sister. Go for walks with the neighbor who lost his wife. Go to coffee with the awkward guy who’s struggling in his marriage. Be a good listener to the person struggling in a terrible work situation. Pray with the friend struggling with depression. Communicate Jesus’ love by being available. Communicate Jesus’ love by being a friend. A friend who loves like a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Jesus, help us to stop living out our own lives our own way and as much as possible help us to let Jesus live through us instead.

In Jesus’ name.

You might also like Love Like Jesus–Heal Like Jesus.

Newly released book by Kurt Bennett, now available on Amazon!

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:

  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
  • The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.

A life of loving like Jesus.

(Kindlehardcover, and paperback now available on Amazon.)

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