Peter and John went up to the temple complex at the hour of prayer. They found a man who was lame from birth, who was carried there daily and placed at the gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from people coming into the temple complex. He saw Peter and John and asked for help. They looked at the man, and told the man to look at them.
He was expecting to get something and Peter told him- “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” The man jumped up, started to walk, and leap and praise God. Everyone recognized him, that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. The people were in awe and astonishment at what had happened!
The people ran toward Peter and John, and Peter saw what was happening. Peter said,”Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Or why do you stare at us, as though had made him walk by our own power and godliness?”
Let’s focus for a moment on this question- Why do you stare at us?
This is an important question for those who are undershepherds in the church. If we are blessed to experience God working in our midst, people are prone to look at us, and think we have done something to bring it about. One of the greatest dangers in ministry is when God uses us. It is easy to take credit for what God has done. The flesh loves praise, and admiration from others. We desire worship and exaltation. This was the downfall of Lucifer. This has been the downfall of many men through the ages.
We must continually turn people away from us, and to the Lord. That’s what Peter did. When he noticed the people focusing on him, and on John, he turned their attention to Jesus. God can set us aside in a hurry, if we serve for our glory rather than his.
So let me ask some questions for application.
Would you be content serving God if your entire ministry is in an out of the way place? Would you be content serving God if your ministry is marked out by difficulties and hardships? Would you be content serving God if your name is never known outside of the people you serve?
The best thing we can do in serving God, is get over ourselves and stay close to Jesus. Spiritual service to God is best rendered when we see ourselves as crucified with Christ.
I came across this powerful presentation of Charles Wesley’s hymn from the 1700s, sung a few years ago. It’s a great reminder of what God has done in us, and how God can work through us.
Father, we serve for your glory. Forgive us for times when we have enjoyed attention and admiration of others, and claimed the glory for ourselves. We are nothing, and can do nothing of eternal value apart from you. Help us to die to self daily, and serve for your glory, in Jesus’ name.