Helping Hands (As published on the Arrows blogsite, at www.pastorlaura.com)
If you grew up attending church, you may find yourself doing what I do when you come across a familiar passage — breezing through it thinking you’ve read it many times. I found myself there just recently as I came across one I know well. I thought as I read the first few verses, “Oh, yes, this story again…”
Thankfully, I’ve also grown up to know the Holy Spirit has a way of bringing something new out of a passage I’ve read on numerous occasions. As the Bible says, the word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). God is always working in and through His Word to tell us what we need to hear. Even in those all too familiar stories!
This is where I found myself recently while working my way through my yearly Bible reading plan. I was reading in Acts chapter 3 about Peter, John, and the man healed at the temple gate called Beautiful. When I was younger, I remember all the ways this story was brought to life! We even sang a little song, which went a something like this:
“Silver and gold have I none,
but such as I have give I you.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
in Jesus’ name rise up and walk.”
Suddenly, unexpectedly, as I read along one verse tucked quietly in these verses jumped out at me in a new and fresh way:
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up,
and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Acts 3:7 NIV
I paused and read it again, and again, and even came back to it a few days later.
If we back up a few verses, we read Peter and John were on their way to the temple at prayer time. I imagine they were on a tight schedule.They had a place to be. But here was this man placed in their path. The Bible says he was carried there every day to sit and ask for money from people entering the temple gate. Yet this day, Peter and John stopped and looked straight at him.
Then Peter, just Peter, not Peter and John. Peter.
Reached out his hand and helped him up.
Every day that man went to the gates asking for money. Every day he lived broken and unable to live life to the fullest. Until one day, someone stopped and took notice. And took action. That day changed his life forever. After forty years of paralysis, he found healing in Jesus on that special day. I wonder what it was that made Peter stop and help, and not John? What is that causes me to stop sometimes and pass people by at other times? It happens so easily – I get busy, I get caught up in my own schedule, and sometimes I wonder if I can make a difference.
My hope is that this story and what I gleaned out of these all too familiar verses will remind you, as it did me that you have the answer the world needs. You have Jesus living on the inside of you. You carry his hope and healing to the world. And when you stop, and act, lives are transformed as Jesus does His thing through your actions. That is definitely something worth pausing for!
For further reading: Read Acts chapters 3 & 4
Let’s Pray: Father God, help me to love the people around me the way you love them. Help me to lend a hand when they are in need. Show me where and when I need to pause and stop and share your love. Thank you for the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world so desperately in need of Him. In Jesus name, amen