Bigger Than Your Bank Balance, Pt 1
I’m walking down the streets of Bulawayo. Someone stops me and asks me for money. We’ve never met before. They’re dressed in rags and clearly impoverished – but there are a lot of reasons to not give them money. I might not have the cash, I’m not sure what they’ll do with it, their need may not be genuine, there are better ways to help the poor… it’s a long list. But whether I give them some money or not – often I walk away feeling like I’ve made very little difference in the context of a huge and hurting world. I feel disempowered.
Many of us – believers or not, leaders or not, have to struggle at some point with the tension that manifests whenever we stand between 1) unlimited needs, and 2) very limited resources to meet those needs. And at the top of the list of those very limited resources is (drum roll please!)… you guessed it – money. And part of the challenge is that the moment we step outside of our personalised cocoons and make a decision to live beyond ourselves. To make some sort of impact in the lives of people around us, especially the lives of those who have less than we do, we can very quickly become overwhelmed by the reality of a world with limitless needs, on the one hand, and very limited resources (money, time and emotional) on the other hand.
So what do we do? Try meet every need ourselves? Not very clever. Retreat inside our cocoons? Not very Christ-like.
I’ve found some encouragement in the pages of scripture recently. Encouragement from a story that – as I think on it, leaves me feeling, well… empowered. It’s a story taken from a day in the life of the early church. You can read it for yourself below, and in my next post, I’ll explain to you exactly why it’s so empowering, liberating and inspiring.
Acts 3:1–8 NIV: “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. (8) He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”