“Watching & Waiting” Meditations: 20. Currency of the Kingdom
Acts 3:6 “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.”
I love Peter and John at the gate Beautiful. There’s a lame beggar there who wants money for a meal. Sorry mate, goes Peter, we don’t do money but will healing do instead? Awesome! Can we pray for that sort of currency as we wait and pray? Isn’t that what Jesus said he wanted for us? (see Jn 14:12) And as we don’t see it in church today, isn’t it about time we started jumping up and down in prayer in frustration and point out to the Lord – just like Moses did (Ex 32:12) and Joshua did (Josh 7:9) – that His reputation is taking a beating because of us and we’d like to change that? Dare we pray that, because if He hears and answers, we’re going to be the first ones changed!
OK, let’s think about this some more. We’ve pondered the question of God to Moses – “what is that in your hand” and concluded that often the best answer is, “Nothing Lord, but I am open to you for whatever you might want to do with them.” We pondered on the thoughts of living in expectation of fruitfulness or, to put it another way, how God can take the little we have in our hands and multiply it. But there is a common attitude so often found in ‘good Christians’ which I think can get in the way: what good can I do in the world today? At its heart it is goodwill but the problem can be twofold: first, it may not be what God wants to expend our energy on and, second, it may be nowhere big enough to match what God wants to do with your life and mine.
Transposing the Peter & John incident at the Gate Beautiful into our own days, if we came across a lame beggar we might, if we could get beyond our own self concern, think about setting up a charity to help lame beggars – or whoever appears a needy person before us. Now before I move on I must insert a recognition here of the teaching about caring for those who are needy: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person,” (1 Jn 3:17) and so I am not going to advocate being like the Pharisees who failed to help needy parents for apparently spiritual reasons (Mk 7:11). No, there may be times when the Lord will be challenging us on bringing material or financial help, and that is very right. But I wonder about the times where we miss bringing about a major transformation in the world because our intervention was only at a surface level and never went to the heart of the problem.
So if we associate ourselves for a moment with Peter and John, recognising what we have been saying, we may start off legitimately (because it is inadequate) with, “Silver and gold I do not have,” but what is it that might be the currency of the kingdom that the Lord does want to bless this person with? As we pray, are our hearts open to the answers the Lord may want to bring to us as we watch and wait for Him to come, perhaps first as we’ve considered before, in expressions of Him or small activities of Him that will pave the way for His greater coming.
The first of these – and don’t take it for granted – is love. Love is the primary currency of the kingdom (Jn 3:16). If we say we have been filled with the Spirit, remember He IS love (1 Jn 4:8,16). When someone is filled with the Spirit (as we’re instructed to be – Eph 5:18), my first memory of it and what I have observed in others, is that it is first seen in an overwhelming sense of love and joy. Maybe we need to pray that we be filled again, to get us back into the right place to be God’s answer to His lost world – children of God filled with love – for Him and for those we encounter. When we encounter need, love is manifested in the form of compassion (e.g. Mt 9:36, 14:14, 20:34) and compassion always energizes into action.
The second of these currencies of the kingdom is truth. Now truth without love tends to be harsh, callous, and judgmental, which is why we need to first be filled with love. But very often, before a person can be changed, they need to be confronted with the truth. Now realise this is only a stage and if it is left as that, it can be hurtful and harmful. But truth that comes embraced in love (Eph 4:15) becomes acceptable. It may be that our friend’s problem is very simply they don’t know Christ, and that needs changing. It may be they need to face something they have done which was wrong, i.e. they need to repent. It may be they have taken on a wrong attitude – e.g. unforgiveness – and that needs changing.
Linked to this, the third of these currencies of the kingdom is wisdom. We, or they, may need help from heaven in the form of wisdom, the knowledge of ‘how to’. It may be what course of action needs to be taken to bring change. It may be that simple. It may involve a course of action to be followed in respect of family, individuals, work etc. each which may bring healing or reconciliation or right order.
The fourth of these currencies of the kingdom is power, which is what we see Peter and John administering. Now many of us are very wary about this. I’m not an apostle, we say, so I don’t have that sort of power. Well no, none of us do actually, only Jesus has but when he said, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,” (Jn 14:12) that opens the door of faith that says when I sense the prompting of the Spirit, as Peter and John obviously did, that’s the sign that Jesus wants to step in and release his power as you pray. So all that’s needed is a listening ear (hence watching and waiting) and a willingness to respond to that prompting and let him bring that healing etc. So, yes, indeed, silver and gold I may have none, but I have a link to One who has unlimited resources for any and every situation – as he wants. Result? Transformation.