Summary: Despite multiple attacks against Christianity today, mature Christians go on ministering to folks whoever and wherever they are, then watch God wow people with blessings that overflow.
A BEGGAR ASKED FOR ALMS AND GOT LEGS
A mentor of mine once advised me, “Be careful what you ask for. God might surprise you with something far greater than you really want.” If, for example, you adopt as the theme song of your Christian journey, “Wherever He leads I’ll go”, be prepared for an assignment that you least expected.
Bob Payne shared with us that, when he prayed a similar prayer, he meant it to the extent that he quit his lucrative job not knowing where God would send him. As we speak, he is in Baghdad in Iraq carrying out yet another assignment in his role on behalf of Experiencing God Ministries as a witness for Christ
Dwight L. Moody the shoe salesman at the age of 30 sold his shoe business to serve God full time as a layman. He had been led to Christ by a Sunday School teacher in the back room of his shoe store, and he had prayed a prayer like Bob’s, yet he was about as uneducated as one could be.
Nevertheless, Moody felt led to preach; he was given a chance by his home church to “give a talk”. After his “talk”, a deacon approached him and suggested, in so many words, that he could best serve God by remaining silent. Someone else chimed in, “You have bad grammar.”
Whereupon Moody observed, “I notice you have good grammar.” “Yes, I do” the man replied. Said Moody, “Well, what are you doing for God?”
Depressed, Moody left the country and wound up in Dublin, Ireland where he heard the protestant evangelist Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with, and for, and through, and in a man fully consecrated to God.”
Muttering to himself, Moody opined, “He said ‘a man’. He didn’t say great man, learned man or smart man. He simply said ‘a man’. Well, I’m ‘a man’. And it’s up to me whether I will or will not consecrate my life to God. I will do my best to be that man.”
Moody preached to more than 100 million people in crusades all over the world. His passion for souls, his humility and his simple yet profound preaching provided opportunity for thousands to be added to the kingdom of God. Indeed, this one man fully consecrated never missed an opportunity to witness for God.
Moody followed a simple rule: Never let an opportunity for ministering in the name of Jesus pass you by. His role models were the two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, who had given up their fishing business to follow Jesus – Acts 3:1-10 . . .
Three aspects of the Healing of the Beggar we want to pay attention to: The Man . . . The Miracle . . . The Message . . . and from the story in its entirety we can identify eight types of people God chooses to use in the service of His kingdom.
The man who presented the opportunity for ministry had been crippled from birth and, at the age of forty, still had no choice but to ask alms of those who passed by on their way into the Temple. His physical condition may be looked upon as an illustration of our spiritual condition. He had been born crippled, and so were we - spiritually – with our bent toward sinning. This man serves as a reminder of the fact that sin cripples.
There he sat in the shadows of the brilliance and grandeur of a gate plated with gold and decorated with ornamental jewels. Yet, none of that rubbed off on him; the stark contrast only made him feel worse about himself.
A man can make a gate beautiful, but nothing a man can do will make the man beautiful. Only God can do that. Yes, we can do some things on the outside to improve our looks; we can shave, get a haircut and dress up; yet we might still be lame on the inside. Only by the help of God can we clean up our lives and stay well spiritually.
So, the man was like most of us once were, and maybe still are, standing or sitting in the need of prayer . . . God’s help . . . spiritual transformation.
The miracle occurred during a daily routine - in a situation that had been that way day in and day out. (Never underestimate the chance of an opportunity occurring during your daily routine). Like clockwork, the beggar set up shop and people walked by him, around him, or on the other side to avoid him. It was a situation that had become predictable.
It is into such situations that the Lord our God injects himself in the person of one of His witnesses who just so happen to be going that way, not accidentally but providentially. Or, perhaps, accidentally on purpose! The miracle occurred as miracles always do - when God’s people first SEE the opportunity then SEIZE it!