Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do 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 began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. - Acts 3:6-8
A few months ago I had the privilege of having dinner with some dear friends and mentors, Gary and Joy. While waiting for our food to arrive we sat and discussed the current events of life and how things were going. As we talked, our waitress came over to refill our drinks and then, all of a sudden, Joy gets a huge smile on her face. After the waitress left we curiously asked Joy, “What are you smiling about?” And with a look of gladness and joy, she replied, "I think God just gave me a word for our waitress."
I'll never forget the look on Joy's face. There was nothing weird or self-indulgent about it. All you could sense was both her gratefulness and excitement that God seemed to be wanting to partner with Joy in presenting his presence and love to our waitress.
So at the end of our meal, Joy quietly walked over to the waitress and shared with her what she felt God had put on her heart and asked if she could pray for her. By the end of their time together the waitress was deeply moved and grateful, confirming that what Joy had shared made an impact. After this, we just joyfully went on our way.
What made this moment all the more impactful for me, as a bystander, was the fact that we had just left a conference, that Gary and Joy were leading, designed to help a church learn how to live a “naturally supernatural” lifestyle. And the conference was great! Close to 500 people attended the event, and some amazing God moments happened. However, this experience with the waitress did not have a stage, and it did not have a mic, and it did not have an auditorium full of people. It was just a couple friends at a restaurant, talking about life, when we one of them notices God at work and she decides to join him in the process.
Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” [Jn. 5.17, NIV].
When Peter and John encountered this man with the healing power of the kingdom, it is right after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and all the amazing things that followed that event (Acts 2). And yet, this experience did not happen on a stage or in a church building, but in a familiar place: the gates of the temple.
For Peter and John, walking to the temple for prayer was nothing new. In fact, it’s very possible that these disciples visited the temple with Jesus and had passed by this man before. What made this time so different, however, was Pentecost, that outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on his children. In this moment the sacred and secular were no longer divided, as God’s presence was now carried in his people.
Luke tells us that the place where this all transpired was at a gate called Beautiful, and beautiful the thought is, that God longs to bring his extraordinary into our ordinary. That with him, no time is wasted time if we simply make ourselves open and available to whatever he would have for us, moment by moment, day by day, no matter where we find ourselves.
Beautiful the thought is, if we would not use our conferences or churches as hiding places, but instead as catapults into a world that could use the healing touch of its Father.