A small community pastor came up to me and shared his situation. He was grateful that he had a nice church building and that God had called him into the ministry and then he hung his head and shared. “I am a poor man. My family was very poor and I had little when I grew up. I was raised in this region and became a Christian when a young boy. I am married and have a beautiful wife and a young child, but I am still poor. The church is growing but the people in the church do not give much, because they only live off of the land. I have no land of my own so I try to rent some land so I can grow enough food to feed my family and pay back the rent. I have no house so I have to borrow or rent a place to live.” He hung his head even lower and looked down as he said, “It is hard to be a good witness in this community because I have so little.” I’m not certain if this pastor was asking for money to buy land or money to help in building a house, but I felt like Peter and John as they were going to prayer and they saw the lame man and they responded with “silver and gold I do not have.” (Acts 3:6) It would have been quite Biblical to go on and say as Peter and John did, “but what I do have I give to you, in the name of Jesus Christ ….”
Instead, with as much gentleness and tenderness as I could show, I swatted down and looked into his eyes and challenged the young pastor. “You already have all that you need. You think that you need more money, or more food, or better clothing to be more effective in ministering. You are looking at the wrong things and hoping for the wrong sources to bring strength to your community ministry.” “These people around you have money, possessions, food and houses but that is not what they need. They need what you have. They need a true living relationship with the living God, they need peace with God, they need forgiveness through Jesus Christ, they need principles that will bring life to their relationships. This is what you have. Draw strength from what you have and then in excitement share that with the people around you.”
Father forgive us because we easily become deceived by the ways of those around us. As Christians we can easily fail to see how much it is You that we already have and it is You that everyone else needs. Help us to draw strength, not from the silver and gold (which we might not have) but from You, Whom we have. Others need You too, not because of material things that they hope to get for You, but because they need You. We become ashamed because we do not have material things; we should be boastful because we have You.