Acts 3:6 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!
When I was in college, I waited tables to pay the bills. I once served a family who left me with a gospel pamphlet as my tip. They even left a nice little note explaining why the pamphlet was more valuable than money. Never mind that they were making some pretty significant assumptions about my beliefs, I just wanted a tip and I was annoyed. Cheap Christians…
They were of course, making an effort to give something meaningful. Their pamphlet would have been much better received with a 15% tip, but at least they were making some effort (perhaps misguided) to share their faith. At that point in my life, though I believed in God, I had little to share with others. I too, was a cheap Christian, unwilling or unable to share what I had.
Many of us are cheap Christians as we spiritually are so poor ourselves. When we give for God, we must give out of what is inside of us. If we are spiritually empty, then we have precious little to give. We cannot give what we do not possess.
In today’s passage, Peter and John encountered a lame man, begging for money. They had no money, but they gave from what they did possess. As they were abiding in and filled with Christ, they naturally let that flow out of them. They gave the lame man something worth far more than a paltry tip. They healed him.
Had they not been filled with Christ, they would not have been able to help the man. This is where many of us find ourselves. We encounter those in need, but as we are not abiding in Christ, we are not filled with him and have nothing to give. We may have prayed a prayer once and thus, assume we have Christ in us, but as we do not continually fill ourselves with him, we are empty and cheap to the world.
I am to continually remain in Christ, being filled him. Then, I am to allow that to flow out of me into the lives of those around me. At times, I may need to give money but at other times, I may need to give time, food or simply love. I cannot help or heal everyone, but I am not to use that as justification to help no one.
Some will use today’s passage as an excuse to share only the gospel and nothing more. The disciples did not just share the gospel though. They showed the lame man love and compassion. They affected his condition and they shared Jesus Christ. They did not just leave him with a pamphlet and walk away.
We are not to be cheap Christians. We are to be rich, filled with Christ, so that when we meet those in need, we have something to give. If we find ourselves spiritually bankrupt and destitute, we need to choose to fill ourselves with Christ. We need to abandon self, follow Christ, and allow him to flow out of us.