We find what we seek, and we can only give that which we have. The apostles, in their poverty, made many rich. It’s interesting to note that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room not only led to bold and powerful witness, but also to a life of simple, holy consecration.
And soon afterward, the disciples had all things in common. They joined forces, combining goods and households, to use everything for the common good. Possessions and belongings meant nothing to them, for they had found true riches. Their one goal and wish was to pass that wealth on to others.
But Peter said, ‘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’, (Acts 3:6).
They had no silver or gold, yet no one in the church was in need. People gave large amounts and profits from property sales. None in their midst were needy. Yet the apostles themselves owned little of this world’s wealth, not even enough to help that needy man.
Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Dominican friar and priest, went one into the pope’s chamber, where they were counting large sums of money.
“You see,” said the pope, “that the church is no longer in an age where she can say, ‘Silver and gold have I none’.”
“It is true, holy father,” the priest admitted. “Nor can she now say to the lame man, ‘Rise up and walk!'”
As believers, most of us love the first chapters of the book of Acts. Seeing Jesus ascend to heaven right before their eyes. Flames of fire, and thousands saved by God’s power. Dreams and visions, along with healings, and no one in need among them. What powerful manifestations of our mighty God!
But we often overlook the price the apostles paid to have these things.
Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “it is not often that Christ’s friends and favorites have abundance of this world.” The apostles were poor, just as their Master who was the poorest of the poor, had not even a place to lay his head.
We seek the miracles. And the powerful sermons. We’d like to once again literally see flaming tongues, and thousands saved from one message. We long for dreams and visions.
But the apostles didn’t seek any of these.
They sought daily communion, and helping others. They spent time waiting at Christ’s feet. They sought to be used of God and to bring him glory. They had no silver or gold; they had given all for Christ.
They sought true riches, and those are what they had to give.
And so they could say to the lame man, “Get up and walk! The Lord has healed you.”
If you’re like me, it’s not that you want fame or glory. You just want to see God at work, touching lives. Healing people and setting them free. We long to say, “Get up and walk”!
But we can only give what we have. We only have that which we seek. And we often have not because we ask not.
The church in Aquinas’ day was reduced to counting money. It’s all they had. Because that is what they sought after. The church was not reduced to this state overnight. But through a gradual shift of perspective and slow changing of priorities.
We long for vision and understanding, but forget to actively and passionately seek them from the Scriptures.
Vision and understanding do not come by happenstance. But by a return to our first love. When knowing God and his will become the most important things to us. And that is the only way we will have enough vision to know what God wants from us. Vision which will also set the captives free.
We can either be rich in many things — riches, fun, excitement, and fine things. Yet unable to truly enrich others. Or we can choose true riches, able to enrich many!
We find what we seek. What are you seeking?
[Image: view of Tuscan coastline ©TheScorziellos-Mario]