The gift that changes
As he thought on his life, his heart was warmed by the thought of his friends and how much they meant to him. They were poor themselves or else they would care for him out of their own means. But they did do something for him. Early each morning before going to work, they came by his little room, picked him up on his pallet and carried him down to the gate of the temple where he could beg his living from the passersby.
But as he continued to think, his mood changed. Bitterness and anger swept over him. It was not enough. It simply wasn’t enough. His friends meant well. In fact, he would starve to death without their help. But the fact was that after they had done all they could, he was still a cripple!
Suddenly his thinking was interrupted. Two men were coming toward him. As was his custom, he called out to them for alms and looked up expecting to receive something in his tin cup. You can imagine his disappointment when one of them said, “I have no silver or gold.”
He was ready to turn away with a curse on his lips. But there was something different about these men. They were still standing over him, and looking up he heard one of them say, “But such as I have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk!”
Then he reached down, took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet. For the very first time in all his life the beggar stood up and walked. With his heart running over with joy, he entered with them into the Temple, walking, leaping, and praising God. You would have done the same had you been in his place. Peter and John had done something far greater than improve his living conditions— they had changed the man himself.
This is the real cure for all who are crippled. In the name of Jesus Christ lame men walk, gamblers become workers, drunkards become sober, sinners become righteous men.
It is the gift of God through his Son that changes and transforms life. And that gift is offered to all who will receive it. Remember, in your own strength you are but a cripple begging before the gate of the temple of life, but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth you can rise up and walk! Clyde Nichols is minister emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.