I wonder, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the needs of the people in your circle of influence?
And I have good news!
We, who are adopted children of God, have received the gift of God in the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, we have ALL we need to enable us to minister to every person in every situation of life. This is good news! We don’t ever have to feel overwhelmed by the brokenness of our world. Nor do we ever have to feel at a loss for resources by which to offer assistance.
Why shouldn’t we feel overwhelmed?
And why should we not feel lacking in resources?
Living within the believer is the full power and unlimited resources of Creator God. We are supplied with a garden of fruit trees capable of producing a harvest of God’s character – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Fruits of the spirit equip us for ministry.
Because we belong to Jesus (we are His and He is ours) we are able to meet overwhelming circumstances face to face with confidence and bold JOY. Jesus is our example. He encountered crowds of physically, emotionally and mentally broken and hurting people who pressed in on Him everywhere He traveled. We carry God’s compassion, just as Jesus did; so we don’t have to duck from any person in distress.
Jesus Himself said that His disciples would do even greater acts of ministry than He accomplished because Father would send His Spirit to help, equip and empower disciples of Christ. The word of God assures us through the resurrection of Christ we are recipients of an unfathomable inheritance and the fullness of power for this present life by which we are able to accomplish the work prepared for us before the foundation of the world.
This is good news!
How do I know this is for regular people like me?
Peter and John give us an excellent portrayal of bold ministry in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. Let’s catch up with these 1st century preachers of the gospel as they headed for the Temple in Jerusalem one day…
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!”
Will you go with me in your Bible to Acts 3? As you read along, let your imagination paint a picture of the scene. Allow yourself to use the fullness of your senses to interact with the text of God’s word.
As we ponder this scene together, let’s keep in mind Peter and John have recently experienced the resurrection of Jesus, Messiah, and they have already watched Him ascend to heaven with the promise they will not be abandoned. Holy Spirit will come to them.
Jesus Himself told them to wait in Jerusalem. They waited.
They received the filling of Holy Spirit.
Every promise Jesus made was being fulfilled and people of The Way were growing in number daily.
And yet…there were still problems…in Jerusalem. And on this particular day, on the way to the Temple, Peter and John saw a crippled man being placed at the Beautiful Gate to beg for money from those entering the Temple. Their eyes met, these three men, each going about the usual of their lives and business of the day, and then something amazing happened!
Perhaps the crippled man thought he found a couple of sympathetic donors in Peter and John. Certainly he believed he would receive from them the money for which he begged. Or did he suddenly fear he was about to be rebuked and silenced?
Peter, however, emboldened by the Spirit of God, not rich with gold or silver, addressed the deeper need of the crippled man.
He needed an encounter with the Living God. So, Peter spoke directly into the man’s circumstances with the “all” he had to offer.
But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. (Acts 3:6-8 nlt)
More and more, day by day, I realize (like Peter and John) Jesus Christ of Nazareth is Who (rather than what) I have to offer. Jesus is the solution for every need. He’s not just enough. Our Triune Creator is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) He is God of unlimited resources. In fact, God created every resource in existence. (Genesis 1-2)
This is indeed good news!
I might not know what to do, but God does. I might not have the ability to heal a person or improve their circumstances significantly, but God does. I might not be able to set a person free from bondage, but God is able.
Better yet, God wants hurting people to know Him, and He wants regular disciples like you and me to make the introduction. God desires to impact people for their good, and His desire is for them to be uplifted through simple people like you and me. Again, there is no need to feel disqualified, discouraged, incapable or overwhelmed. We are not alone.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
2 Corinthians 4:7-8
Fortunately, I live in a neighborhood of diverse generations. Right next door, behind and across the street there are homes filled with people who are hurting on various levels. People are ill, out of work, have broken relationships, or have recently buried a loved one. You see it too, don’t you, in your neighborhood?
I am encouraged to look my neighbor in the eye and say,
“What I have I give to you.”
My office is located in a middle school. A few thousand people surround me daily with seemingly impossible situations – some details known, but what of all the stuff of life buried within their shattered hearts. Don’t you feel it too in your work place?
I am emboldened to stretch out a hand to a person in my work place and say,
“What I have I give to you.”
I attend a radiant church full of desire for mission – people wanting to make a difference in our 5 mile circle of influence. And yet the prayer list of our own sick and wounded seems insurmountable on any given day. You recognize it too, don’t you? Wounded warriors on the battlefield?
I am energized to speak up in my church congregation,
“What I have I give to you.”
My apologies to anyone who might feel I’ve oversimplified suffering and compassionate assistance, please forgive me. My intent is not to over-simplify or gloss over pain and suffering. Rather to take the focus off of my lack, which sidelines me from service, and place the focus squarely on God for He is all-sufficient.
My intent is to:
- embolden you to make eye contact with people God has purposely placed in your path.
- encourage you to engage hurting people with confidence knowing Christ is in you as you are in Him.
- energize and equip you to offer the very best (Jesus) of all the resources you have to every wounded person you meet.
- empower you to use the fullness of the gifts of the Spirit given to you for the purpose of ministry.
What I do have I give to you. His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth…
- Will you seek to remember Acts 3:6 the next time your tempted to avert your gaze from a “crippled” person on your path?
- Do you feel emboldened to minister as you reflect on the unlimited resources of God available to us as His Spirit indwells us? (Ephesians 3:20, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
- What most often causes you to feel overwhelmed in the presence of hurting and wounded people?
- Do you believe as a spirit filled follower of Jesus you have received power to be a witness and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, especially in your local community? (Acts 1:8)
- Are you able to say like Peter? I have no silver or gold for you, but what I have I give to you. His name is Jesus…