After Pentecost the followers of Jesus were still part of Judaism, going to the Temple to worship and pray. But somehow things were different. The following kids song tells the story of Peter and John going to the Temple and meeting a cripple begging for money. Their response is classic. “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
Looking through the lens of faith formation, what do we learn about how these early followers are growing in faith? Our faith challenges are no different today. Perhaps we are not going to the Temple but we are exiting the freeway and see the person with a sign begging for money. We may need to deal with that child caught in addiction, asking yet again for assistance to pay the rent. We won’t mention the unending stream of ads asking for just one little gift to help them meet that wonderful goal of theirs. The demand always is bigger than our perceived sense of resources and we feel guilty as we weigh all the needs calling out to us.
One of my favorite stories is about living in a famine relief camp in northern Kenya for four years and being down to my last cup of sugar I had squirreled away for my son’s birthday cake. Of course my friend came to the door asking if I had sugar. People there survived by begging. I battled my conscience as I could not lie to her. I admitted that I had a cup of sugar I was willing to give half to her but before I could finish the sentence she shhhhed me and said to come to her hut as she had gotten some and would share with me!!! She, the refugee, remembered me and thought of my need and believed me. That was a big lesson for me.
Peter responds to the beggar, “such as I have” he would share. He did not have silver or gold but he did have faith. He had walked with Jesus and seen Jesus heal many people. We cannot always give the person asking just what they want. We may not have it nor may it be wise but we always have something we can share – if only a smile or a glass of water. Let us pray today for a generous heart that can identify what resources we have that can help others and that we can share with love. The man wanted silver or gold and got the ability to walk. The result was praise. May we bring joy to someone today. Blessings.