My wife and I rode together with another couple in their car to go out to dinner. At an intersection on the way (while stopped at a traffic light), a man was going from car to car with a sign looking for a hand out. I am always a little torn as to whether or not to give money to such people. I have in the past, but now I usually just give a Gospel tract. Either way, a Gospel tract is more valuable.
“Do you know the Lord?” I asked. “Yep,” replied the man. “Who is the Lord?” I came back. “Jesus Christ,” he said. “That’s right. Here read this, it’s important.” He took the tract from me with enthusiasm.
Who knows if he read it. Who knows if he actually knows Christ.
It is moments like these that I am reminded of the scene in Acts 3, when Peter and John come across a lame man who is placed daily at the temple gate called “Beautiful,” so that he can beg from those who are entering into the temple complex. What is interesting is how Peter responds to this man’s seeking of alms….
Acts 3:5-6 (ESV)
“And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!””
Peter and John did not have the resources needed to appease the beggar’s request, but instead they gave him something much more valuable… healing. The lame man was made whole, not just given the ability to walk, but more importantly he was given the ability to praise God, which he did, and “all the people saw him.” (Acts 3:9)
Does this mean that we should never give money to a beggar? No, that depends on whether or not one has the resources and it’s appropriate. Peter and John did not have such resources. But, they did have another more valuable resource that they could give. Similarly, I cannot afford to give to every beggar that I encounter. And not so similarly, I do not have the power to cause the lame to walk as Peter and John (by the power of God) did. However, I do have something that I can give…
The means by which one can walk with Christ…
This is why I carry Gospel tracts wherever I go, just in case an encounter doesn’t offer the time to have a conversation where I could then give the Gospel verbally. With a Gospel tract, though, I can at least offer the Gospel where a conversation cannot be had…
“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… with Him!”
Please pray for this man.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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