What I Want
If you were ever in VBS in the late 20th century, it's impossible to read this story without hearing this song in your head, "Silver and Gold Have I None." It's like a mantra that has haunted me (in a good way) my whole life. It's a beautiful story of God's people offering not what the man wanted, but what the man needed.
I like to think I know what I need. Thankfully, God knows better than I do. I always ask for what I want, and God always offers what I need. Sometimes they are the same; most often they are not. A few years back, I had a friend who was struggling with a job that was, in her words, "uninspiring." She wasn't exactly bored -- she had plenty to do. It's just that it didn't excite her to get up in the morning. At the same time, she mentioned she was personally struggling with some emotional challenges and wasn't sure how to approach them. I pointed out, perhaps God had blessed her with a job that wasn't hard or emotionally draining so that she could invest in her emotional health. She could engage in therapy and do the hard work of healing in part because she was in a stable work environment. What she thought she wanted was a more inspiring job; what God gave her was a stable job with time and energy to focus on her mental health. Thanks, God. :)
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 3:1-10
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.