Do we get too caught up in trying to meet lost person’s physical needs sometimes? Sure, I understand the ministry of loving others and serving them with medical care, especially in a place like India where preventable disease is rampant. I am all about serving those precious souls in that way so that’s not what I’m talking about.
Instead, I’m thinking about the people in our neighborhoods during a time of crisis. I know a family right now wanting financial help and they hope to win the lottery but what they really need is Christ.
One of my favorite historical accounts in the Bible is from Acts 3:1-10 (ESV):
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
I love Peter’s answer in verse 6 (paraphrased from above): “I have no money but I do have something to give to you: Christ!” I think that’s really all we honestly do have to offer with any lasting eternal value. That’s all I’ve got, anyway. That’s all they really need, too! If I give them money, they’ll just need more of it later. But if I give them Christ by sharing His truth in love to them, they won’t need Him anymore in terms of salvation – because they will already possess Him. They will only need Him for sanctification from that point forward.
Let’s not make it about the stuff but make it about the Giver of the stuff!
-Mark (first it was the gift, now it is the Giver I want more than anything else)