It’s a divine setup: a beggar at the right place, at the right time, needing a miracle, but only asking for alms. Then, the disciples arrive, at the right place, at the right time, having no alms, but possessing a miracle.
This encounter found in Acts 3 causes me to look at myself and ask if I would have had the same quick response as the disciples. There’s nothing inferred in the text that makes us think they checked their pockets or collaborated about what they should do. Rather, the need brought about an immediate reply; one of those “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45, NKJV) types of answers. It’s a response that says, “What I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
Every day we encounter broken humanity, people with no ability to heal themselves, who are often even asking the wrong questions. In response, I wonder if I’m sometimes too busy to recognize the divine setup that has come across my path. How often do I walk by, dropping in some change, apologizing that I don’t have more to give, or maybe even walk by pretending to not see the person?
I’ve learned that my beliefs are the real motivators of my behaviors, but when I read Acts 3, I have to question how deeply I believe in “what I have.”
When I was a little girl, my grandfather was on the board of directors for the Kathryn Kuhlman Ministry. I will never forget the first time I saw her in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. With her unique voice and pronunciation she proclaimed, “I believe in miracles!” The “r’s” when she said “miracles” seemed to roll off her tongue in a way that mesmerized my young attention span. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, and yet it was more than her voice. She believed so deeply and communicated that belief in such a way that the supernatural seemed incredibly natural. Her belief in “what she had” caused people to respond and say, “Well, of course!”
The first week of December, Gary and I visited New York City for a few days of fun. As we walked through Macy’s department store, the word “Believe” was everywhere, including in huge lights on the front of the store. The windows were dressed with the classic Christmas story Miracle on 34th Street. I found myself caught up in the childlikeness of it all, and I was reminded how people everywhere truly long to believe in the miraculous.
So I have to ask myself these questions: When I respond to human need with only human supply, what do I really believe? When I encounter seemingly huge issues, do I depend on His miracle-abundance, even though I may have a mere five loaves and two fish? I must ask these questions to identify my self-reliant behavior. I must ask so I can identify the comfortable places where I give away tangible “things” that I have without taking a risk to truly believe for what God has in mind.
Should we give the practical? Absolutely! But the practical without the miraculous will not transform a life. We must give the cup of cold water, feed the poor, give shelter to the homeless, all in the name of Jesus, believing that the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us.
Five loaves and two fish become more than enough to answer the need of multitudes. Spirit-empowered statements cause beggars to walk and leap and praise God. A cup of cold water becomes refreshment for the soul, bread becomes life to the spirit, and a home becomes an eternal future for the homeless.
Our daily pathways are not coincidental but providential. Believe!
By: Tammy Dunahoo, general supervisor of The Foursquare Church
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