Unexpected Gifts

Today’s scripture: Acts 3:1-11 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Carla Peck):

One day when I was at work at a previous job, having a routine day at the office and all of a sudden “it” appeared. “It” was an email from a manager, asking if I would take his place as the volunteer leader of an upcoming community activity. My day went from predictable to panic. Reasons why I should say no to this request flooded my mind. This request was not only going to put demands on my time and energy, it would take me out of my comfort zone, too.

The person I most noticed in today’s scripture is the beggar. The beggar is a man crippled from birth. The beggar was having a routine day begging for money at the temple. Instead of receiving an email request, the beggar encounters a face to face visit from Peter. Peter requests that the beggar begin to walk. I suspect the beggar’s mind was flooded with reasons why walking would be impossible. However, the beggar takes Peter’s hand, accepts Peter’s encouragement, and the beggar’s feet and ankles become strong. The beggar walked, jumped for joy, and praised God. The bystanders who witnessed the beggar’s healing were filled with wonder and amazement!

The beggar received the gift of strength by reaching outside his comfort zone and as a result, the bystanders received the gifts of encouragement and hope. I think today’s scripture tells us that sometimes being generous means refusing to let fear of going outside our comfort zone control us.

Thought for the day: God, I pray that when I feel like my generosity muscle is being pushed to failure, that I will have the courage of the beggar to be open to the unexpected. I pray that by letting go of fear and putting my trust in you, that my actions will not only strengthen me, but provide the gifts of encouragement and hope to those around me.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.