Today’s Reading: Acts 3:3 (NIV)
3 When [the man crippled from birth] saw Peter and John about to enter [the temple courts], he asked them for money.
Every time my telephone rings, I wonder if the voice on the other end of the line represents yet another charitable organization seeking my donation for a worthy cause. It is not uncommon for our family to receive several phone calls each day. And in this strapped economy, more and more people have had to seek financial assistance just to feed their families, pay their utility bills and monthly rent. How do you choose who to help?
Sometimes people take advantage of others who are struggling to survive in a desperate situation. It was difficult to watch the looters who come to take what does not belong to them in the aftermath of a hurricane. We saw a lot of this happening live in news commentary videos made in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We cannot fully understand the plight of a displaced, hungry person until we have experienced that hunger for ourselves.
My uncle owned a small family-style restaurant near Monticello, Mississippi for many years. After Katrina, there was no electricity for weeks in the area. Traveling anywhere was especially dangerous, with downed power lines and flash flooding. He knew the food in his freezer would become spoiled in a matter of days. So my uncle choose to cook everything he had outside on a camp grill and give it away to whoever needed it. People who were used to taking care of their own needs suddenly found themselves without the resources needed to do just that. Families within walking distance of the diner showed up to eat. A community’s great need was met for several days because someone was willing to give everything they had away to help a neighbor in need.
The crippled man sat at the Beautiful Gate, the entrance to the temple courtyard, hoping worshippers would have pity on him and give him money to purchase a day’s worth of food and pay his rent. He had no other means of support, and had learned how to beg for his very survival. He was looking to receive something that would meet an immediate need. He had no clue that what he was about to receive would literally change the direction of his entire life.
What would you be willing to give away to meet a neighbor's need? Would you give them everything you have?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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