Summary: Discussion on distributing vs. manufacturing God’s divine resources.
Are We Manufacturers or Distributors?
“A little nun was on a much desired mission assignment to the Apache Indians. She was so excited that she drove past the last gas station without noticing that she needed gas. She ran out of gas about a mile down the road, and had to walk back to the station. The attendant told her that he would like to help her, but he had no container to hold the gas.
“Sympathetic to her plight, he agreed to search through an old shed in the back for something that might suffice. The only container that would hold fuel was an old bedpan. The grateful nun told him that the bedpan would work just fine. She carried the gasoline back to her car, taking care not to drop an ounce. When she got to her car, she carefully poured the contents of the bed pan into the tank.
A truck driver pulled alongside the care as the nun was emptying the container into the tank. He rolled down his window and yelled to her, ‘I wish I had your faith, Sister’” (Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994), 226-227).
Faith is central to Christianity. Not faith in just anything, but faith in the fact that God is real, and that he came to earth as a man named Jesus, that he lived a perfect life, died on our behalf, and that he rose from the dead three days later. And it’s this type of faith that we rest all our assurance.
But for many, it’s hard to believe. It’s hard to believe that God is able to do the miraculous, even though there are records of it in the Bible. It’s hard for us to believe that God works and moves in those same ways these days, and so we try to manufacture our faith, we try to manufacture miracles, we try to manufacture hope. But manufacturing isn’t what God called us to do. He called us to be distributors.
We’re going to be focusing for the next few weeks on Act 3:1-10, and try to understand what it means to be distributors of divine resources. We’re going to learn what it means to meet human needs through loving channels. And most importantly, we’re going to learn what it means to do this all to the glory of God.
So let’s take a look…
Acts 3:1-10 (NLT)
Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.  As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, "Look at us!"  The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift.  But Peter said, "I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, 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 anklebones were 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.
 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.  When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!
What we learn from this passage of Scripture is that:
"Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God" (Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993), 4).
As we look at today’s passage of Scripture in Acts, we see that Peter and John had come a long way. By this time, Jesus had been crucified, had risen from the dead, and had ascended to the Father. The disciples had already received the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised would come to them as they waited in Jerusalem, and here we find them going about the daily routine of praying in the Temple – as was the Jewish custom of the day. And as they enter through the Gate of the Temple called Beautiful, they notice a man – a mere beggar who was lame from birth – asking for alms from the passers by. Now, there would have been a time when Peter and John would have probably passed this man up because they honestly had no monetary means by which to bless him, but because of their faith in God and their belief in Jesus, God made them distributors of the Faith by miraculous means.