When All We Can Give is Jesus
Recently, I was thinking about Jesus’ command to love our neighbor. When Jesus talked about the two most important commandments, which all the other commandments hang off of, He said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you think about it, His whole mission and life here on this planet revolved around both of those commandments. He inspired us to “step it up” in our relationship with God. And He challenged us to “step it up” in our relationship with each other.
But how can we practically and effectively love our neighbor in a way that points them to Jesus?
Read: Acts 3:1-10
It’s so easy to get hung up on the great miracle that this man experienced and just gloss over his life before meeting Jesus’ ambassadors. If you noticed, being carried out to the gate each day was something he had done for a very long time. He asked for money, but he didn’t make eye contact with the people who would meet his need. He didn't make eye contact. How often do we get so discouraged that we expect the no, that we expect lack of support? Yet, Peter and John looked at this man. When was the last time someone actually LOOKED at him, do you think? They fixed their gaze on this lame beggar and offered him something that was worth far more than a silver or gold coin. They offered him healing through Jesus Christ!
Here are three ways Peter and John’s loved their neighbor:
They lived one life, not a divided life. Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray when this man caught their attention. So often we separate our church life from the rest of our life. God didn’t mean for us to live a divided life. He intended for us to live a whole life! He intended for our church life and the rest of our life to come together to create that whole life. Peter and John were stopped at this sight of this man and in this moment, church came to this lame beggar. How many of our neighbors long for us to bring our church life into our lives with them? How many of our church friends long for us to bring our real lives to them?
They noticed him. “Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John….” (verse 4). Peter and John looked at this man, they really looked at him. We live in a culture where our attention is often divided or simply surface. We don’t usually LOOK at our neighbor. We don’t consider our neighbor. In fact, we’re so caught up with what’s on our phone or what’s on our agenda to hardly give our neighbor a passing glance. But they really looked at this vulnerable man. They considered his need. If we paid attention a bit more to our neighbor, maybe we could truly see their need. Maybe there’s a way that we can meet their need. If nothing else, we can give them Jesus!
They went beyond expectation. This beggar was expecting the money he had begged for. Instead, they pretty much looked at him and said, “We don’t have any money, but we have something so much better!" They gave him healing in Jesus’ name. Jesus met this man at his need. Through his healing, this man would be able to work for a consistent income. He could go from being the beggar to the giver. Jesus met this man through Peter and John. Are we praying and giving Jesus permission to work through us? Are we turning into His still small voice to see how we might be His hands and feet extended?
Have we considered the incredible gift we have in Christ Jesus? Have we considered what is all at our disposal just because of His sacrifice? We may not have the resources to meet a need, but do you know what we have? We have Jesus! Through Jesus, we can go above and beyond whatever the need is! We can love our neighbor by giving them our attention and for all the needs we can’t meet, we can give them Jesus. We never know how God might use us in various circumstances. That’s why we should give Him permission to use us in any way He pleases. Ask God to spend your life how He sees fit. And then ask Him to guide us on how we can be His hands and feet extended. Ask Him to guide us to love our neighbors well!