It is amazing how much wealth the Vatican has accumulated throughout 2000 years of church history! Pope Innocent IV (1195 – 1254 A.D.) said to Aquinas, “You see the church is no longer in an age in which she can say, ‘Silver and gold have I none!'” Aquinas, who happened to be in the Pope’s chamber, where they were counting large sums of money, replied, “True. Nor can she say to the lame man, in the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk!”
Peter and John were clearly not prosperity gospel preachers. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” Paul reminded his younger trainee Timothy who led the church at Ephesus along with a group of elders. “You cannot serve God and money,” Jesus warned His early followers.
With the expectant beggar gazing upon these two preachers, Peter, led by the Spirit of God, did not give alms, but performed a miracle that radically altered the activity of this daily beggar. “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. He jumped to his feet and begn to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”
A few thoughts….
1) Ministry is not about the accumulation of wealth. Yes, the labourer is worthy of his hire. Scripture permits and encourages the financial support of those who labour ‘in the gospel.’
2) A lack of financial resources is no deterrent to ministry. Some people have abundant resources. Trust me I have been the recipient of the generosity of many givers throughout my ministry life. I could not have traveled and served in countries like Cuba, Japan and India, as well as Thailand, without the incredible gifts of believers whose heart God prompted to give! I’ve found, thus far, my issue is availability. Am I willing to say regularly, ‘Here am I Lord, send me!’?
3) Leaders are to act in the authority (name) of Jesus Christ. He possesses all authority (read the Great Commission in Mt. 28:18-20 if you’ve forgotten). It is in His name that we teach, preach, serve and accomplish God’s will!
4) God may perform miracles, even physical healings, in accordance with His will. There have been lots of ‘fake faith healers,’ but read James 5 if you doubt the power of God to bring healing through prayer and anointing by local church elders. God does NOT always heal but Scripture warrants a request for His intervention in any situation. Read 2 Corinthians 12 and see Paul’s request for healing, though not answered as requested, still met with the infinite grace of God!
5) The ultimate result of healing is glory going to God. Peter and John actually ended up in great difficulty as the ensuing chapters describe. But God was praised! The crippled beggar, through the healing touch of Jesus Christ, poured out his energetic praise by walking and jumping and praising God. I dare say people noticed! Perhaps even a few questioned his ‘spirituality’ as he used his legs and arms in a way he had never used before.
What is God’s will for us in the ministry He has called us to accomplish? We need to pray, depend upon His strength and then seek His guidance as we touch the lives of other people.
As D.L. Moody once penned in his journal, “The world has yet to see what God can do with one man who is totally dedicated to Him. By God’s grace, I’ll be that man!” May we be likewise dedicated and be prepared to be amazed at what God chooses to do with our lives! We may have to say to needy people around us, “Silver and gold have I none, but….”