Now a man who was lame 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 do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” — Acts 3.2-6, NIV
Throughout the course of my interactions with the bible, this retelling of Peter and John's encounter with the beggar at the gate continues to be for me one of the most informative and inspiring reflections on the heart of Christian mission.
Although I can list several reasons why I believe this to be the case, there are two essential aspects of the story that I believe provide the most insight into what type of posture followers of Jesus should take in our engagement with the world.
The first aspect is what I call faithfulness. Prior to this engagement with the beggar, we are told in Acts 2 that Peter and John (and several hundred others) experienced the powerful breakthrough of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This event was truly paradigm shifting and life-altering, and yet, what are Peter and John doing when they engage this man shortly after their powerful encounter? - They're going to the temple to pray, just like they always did. Their experience with the Spirit did not change or alter the circumstances of their everyday life, but it did alter their interactions with it. In faithfulness, Peter and John continued to engage the context God had placed them in, but now with the revelation of the Spirit's breakthrough.
Which leads me to the second aspect, expectancy. I love how in the story the man asks for money, but Peter and John have none to give. Truth be told, this is typically the part in my story where it reads, "Then Joe apologized and went on to the temple." However, that's not how it reads for Peter and John. No, despite not having money to give, Peter is undeterred in expecting the Spirit to still give this man a loving gift.
And here's why I think this is important. When it comes to living out the mission of God, many of us, including myself, tend to want to choose one side of the coin. By this I mean, some of us go all-in on the expectancy side, chasing what we believe to be the signs of the Spirit's power while forgetting our call to be a faithful loving presence towards those around us. Or the reverse, some of us will choose to be faithful in our everyday lives but failed to embrace an expectancy of the transformative breakthrough of the Spirit.
What if we, the Beaches Vineyard, refused to break this tension, but instead chose to step fully into it by embracing a posture of faithful-expectancy? What could happen, what would change?
Join us this Sunday as we discuss the implications of such a posture in the next installment of our series, The Missio Dei: Living The Story.