Have you ever loved something so much you just couldn’t wait to share it with others? When I was a kid, there was a big rock in our backyard that was mostly covered by the few tall trees growing around it. I used to love going around to the backside of the rock and climbing to the top, hidden by the branches separating me from our house. I remember dragging guests over and excitedly showing them my “secret spot.” One day, one of our guests chuckled and responded, “It’s not a secret spot if you show everybody.” I didn’t care though. It was cool and I wanted other people to see how special it was.
There is something fun about sharing the things we love with other people. What about sharing the things that would help others but are a little harder to give, though?
Last week at Bible study, we looked at Acts 3. In verses 3-10, Peter and John are on their way to the temple when they notice a man who could not walk. The man had been lame his whole life, so he was accustomed to asking for money from other people:
“When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, ‘Look at us!’ And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” – Acts 3:3-7 (NASB)
What struck me the most was Peter’s response in verse 6: “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you…” How cool is that? Peter knew he didn’t have what the man was asking for, but Peter was willing to give what he did have… And it ended up being the exact thing the man really needed.
This raises the question then: What keeps us from sharing what we have with other people?
For whatever reason, human beings tend to be really good at coming up with “really good, totally legitimate” reasons for why we shouldn’t do something that scares us. To call out a few:
- We’re afraid it won’t actually help anyone
- We’re afraid of what people will think
- We’re afraid of what it will require letting go of
- We’re afraid of burning out again
- We don’t feel qualified, whether because of what stepping out will require or because we feel like we’ve already messed up too much
As I’ve examined my own reasons for hesitation the past couple weeks, then even more so after Bible study, I keep being reminded of John 15:5 (NASB):
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.“
Haha I guess that silences those fears, huh? Whatever obstacles lie in our way of sharing what we have been given, those obstacles fade to nothing when we are abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, our fears carry some truth. The crazy thing is, He’s asking us to draw close to Him so He can show us these special things He wants to do in and through us. And we get to help other people as we’re faithful too. When we’re close to Him, we bear fruit – And it’s not through our strength or understanding, so we don’t have to give our worries a second thought.
Even at Bible study and as I’ve written this, I kept trying to add emphasis on verses 3-5… But verse 6 is the one I’ve needed to let sink in. I wanted to talk equally as much about how Peter and John had to stop what they were doing and see the man and his need and about how the man focused on them, expecting to receive. Those are important, but sometimes we already see the people and their needs, and sometimes people are already looking around hoping for and expecting someone to help them, but we still hide what we’ve been given. Sometimes we look and say, “But this isn’t what they’re asking for…” and shy away from sharing the very thing that God wants to use to help set other people free too.
What I so loved about this passage was that Peter wasn’t deterred by not having what the man was asking for. The man was so used to being lame, he was asking for something to help him cope or “get by” while still living with his circumstance. Peter had such a clear understanding of what he had been given and what God was asking him to do, though, that without hesitation he and John reached out to the man to heal him. They were willing to be faithful with what they did have, and the man’s life was changed because of it.
When we choose to be faithfully obedient to what God is asking us to do, understanding the obstacles we perceive can’t stop God from fulfilling His purposes, we get to partake in the journey God has so intentionally created us for. Another really cool thing about God is our journey isn’t separated from everyone else’s. We all learn from each other and grow together, but we need to be ourselves and share what we’ve been given in order to do that. So, for those of us who are still working on this one, here’s to making the decision to be obedient while growing in the trust that God will figure everything else out. 🙂
Here’s to the journey!