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.
In a world where we feel the weight of lofty expectations and where the temptation to “dress up” our image in the eyes of our social media “friends,” we can often feel like we don’t measure up or equal up. And this can make us feel like giving up. We like getting likes, and when that doesn’t happen as much as we would like it can affect us deeply.
A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance. Social media use can affect users’ physical health even more directly. Researchers know the connection between the mind and the gut can turn anxiety and depression into nausea, headaches, muscle tension, and tremors.
Certainly some of you reading this would tell me that you don’t care at all about who likes a social media post of yours. Yet you still care about how you’re dressed when you’re around people you want to impress, what kind of car you drive and what your name and reputation is associated with at work. And you would argue that those situations are “real life,” but for other generations the pressures of the digital world are just as real. So you might not care about how many people comment on the picture of your dog on Facebook, but if you get a dramatically different haircut and no one notices, the feelings of unfulfillment can be similar. There are social media likes and there are social reality likes – and they have similar effects on us.
Which is what makes Peter’s statement in this text so powerfully relevant for our present context. The truth about Peter’s life included a struggling bank account or a forgotten wallet, but either way what he needed was not to found in what he didn’t have. And that is the point of his statement, when we are surrendered to Jesus and filled with the Spirit what we need is not something that is ever absent from our lives.
You can’t sing? Okay.
You can’t preach? No problem.
You’re not much of a cook? God can work with that.
Not very organized? Welcome to the club.
All of the excuses we can conjure wind up falling short of actually being excuses when our lives are filled and directed by the Spirit of God. God will either provide for us in the moment or He will open doors to help us begin preparing before we are in the moment of need – what He will not do is send someone into battle with no hope of victory.
Remember old Moses? After God lit a shrub on fire in the desert and told Moses to go back to Pharaoh’s court to demand the release of the Hebrews, the response was not, “I’m on my way,” but instead, “God, you’ve got the wrong guy.” Moses tried to offer some excuses to the flaming limbs, but God’s response was perfect: “this mission really isn’t about you or your power, it’s about Mine. I don’t need you to be capable, I need you to be obedient and I’ll take care of the rest.”
God’s answer to Moses is Peter’s confident declaration: I might not have what everybody wants, but what I’ve got is worth having and it just might change your life.”
Today you and I will encounter plenty of people who are begging for something. They might not be asking for spare change on the sidewalk, but they might be in desperate need of friendship, support, prayer or compassion. Whether you think you have what they’re asking for isn’t the real issue. The real question is whether you’re willing to give what you actually do have.
So stop letting your second-guessing mind or your perceived insecurities or your past doubts decide whether you measure up or equal up. First, you’re probably more talented than you think. But more importantly, the presence of the Spirit of God in you is more than sufficient for those moments when you truly don’t have anything else to offer.
Find your confidence in the One who is always enough and you might even start to see more opportunities to quote Peter’s words, “I don’t have exactly what you’re asking for, but I’m going to give you what I have and then let’s see what happens.”