By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville
I am by nature a man of lists. I make a list the night before so the following day will be more productive. Now, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it allows me to separate the important from the urgent and eliminate wasted distractions that might keep me from finishing pertinent matters that require my attention. In other words, my list keeps me on track. However, there is a drawback to my list. I have a tendency to ignore or avoid interruptions. These interruptions are sometimes orchestrated by God and involve an unexpected opportunity to make Christ known. While it is not a sin to be busy, it can be sinful to be too busy.
In our Scripture today, Peter and John are making their way to the temple complex for the afternoon prayer time that included animal sacrifices. They could expect a crowd of people in attendance and their desire was to use this as a moment to share their newfound faith in their risen Lord. However, they were interrupted at the gate by the sounds of a beggar asking for alms. No doubt this is not the first time they had entered the temple through the gate called Beautiful and no doubt this man had been there before, but now Peter and John saw him not as an interruption, but as a divine appointment. No longer was he keeping them from something they needed to accomplish, he was the reason they were there. What was the difference?
The difference was the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught them to care for the individual and to see people not as interruptions, but as possibilities. So, when Peter looked intently at this man, he saw an opportunity to glorify His Lord. Many times we are guilty of focusing on not only how busy we are, but also on the overwhelming need around us. When we do this, we feel helpless and hopeless. But, while it is true the need is great, our God is greater. Likewise, we are not responsible for meeting every need, just the ones to which He calls us. In this case, Peter knew God had called him to give all he could to this man. It was not what the man was expecting. We can almost feel his initial anguish at Peter’s response of “silver and gold have I none.” But, we can also imagine the joyful response when he realized the gift he did receive was so much greater.
Notice the ripple effect this miracle had on the crowd. This act of kindness and the divine encounter opened the door to the opportunity which Peter and John had initially sought, a platform to proclaim Christ. We must recognize that divine interruptions are there to further our mission and not deter it. This involves trusting the Lord in every circumstance. We must intentionally look around us for these divine encounters. In the flesh, we do not always see them. But, in the Spirit we can not only see them, but take full advantage of them. So, start your week with the excitement of knowing you are living not by fate, but by faith, and believe God will use you to accomplish His eternal plan.