Maybe you recall the old Sunday School song based on Acts 3. If you watch the video keep an eye out for the disappointment on the lame man’s face when Peter and John hold out empty hands. Then see how his face changes before he goes ‘walking and leaping and praising God’.
Isn’t that the way we are? We have expectations of how things should be; ideas that are often set in stone about what we need, what we are entitled to and what God ought to be providing for us daily. When we pray ‘give us our daily bread’ we usually mean breakfast, lunch, dinner with a few snacks and plenty of coffee/tea or water plus money for the mortgage/rent, bills, clothes and leisure activities. These are the things we assume to be the signs of God’s blessing.
Peter has an interesting thing to say about blessing at the end of the chapter.
26 So when God raised up His Servant, God sent Him first to you, to begin blessing you by calling you to change your path from evil ways to God’s ways.
That reminds me of the sermons I heard recently on the blessing given to Abraham. That blessing was to be considered righteous before God, to be called a friend of God and because of that all nations on earth would be blessed through his descendants.
God’s blessing has to be more than material wealth, physical provision. If we look at countries where Christians suffer starvation, persecution, oppression and think God’s blessing has to be something we can touch and hold we are deceiving ourselves.
God’s gift to us, the blessing He intends for all His children, is righteousness before Him. It is a life of holiness and devotion first and foremost to Him. Peter says this about the proper response to God:
19 So now you need to rethink everything and turn to God so your sins will be forgiven and a new day can dawn, days of refreshing times flowing from the Lord.
This righteousness spurs us to be like Peter and John (and the early church). They devoted their lives to meeting together and then sharing the love and power of God with those they met. Acts 3:1 says they were going to daily prayer – so it was their habit to pray daily together. Out of this habit, they were able to see the need in the man, the real need that was deeper than money and offer to heal him in the name of Jesus. Then Peter was able to share the good news of the gospel with those astounded by the miracle.
God can use you and me in the same way if we ask Him and make ourselves available. His righteousness is the greatest blessing we can receive and share with those we meet. Let’s receive and share it daily!