What do you do for an encore? Pass out some money?
Great achievements can become great distractions. String a bunch of once-in-a-lifetime moments together – in a short period of time – and you could almost get a pass on being productive.
This morning after Hollywood’s television community passed around their Emmy trophies, most of them are probably sleeping in. I’ll bet that the gowns and tuxedos from last night’s red carpet aren’t crowding into Starbucks as they open this morning in Beverly Hills…
Peter and John could have stayed home after two weeks of once-in-forever experiences, capping two months of drama. Passover in the Upper Room, Judas’ cowardly sell-out and Jesus’ arrest/trial/ execution had them slammed to the mat. Three days of mourning and shock, then Jesus shows up alive and delivers the Ultimate Pivot. During the next month, he had stepped in-and-out of their paths on his own terms, but – just two weeks before – he met them on the Mount of Olives, gave them their final instructions… and got on the express elevator heading back home, to Heaven.
Ten days later – in the Temple, surrounded by thousands of Pentecost worshipers – the promise Jesus made as he ascended was realized: the Holy Spirit was delivered to the followers of the Son, and Peter’s explanatory messages brought 5,000 new members into the now-official community of faith.
How do you follow that spectacular zenith of supernatural demonstration? What do you do for an encore?
“…Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:1-10)
The Lame Guy was an honorable beggar: he came to work every day with his Styrofoam cup, hoping that compassionate people would give him a day’s worth of shekels, so he could return the next day and do it again. He had no idea what was going to happen after his car pool dropped him off…
Peter and John were marketplace guys who had just finished three years in the first Master’s Program (Jesus was the Master; he helped them find their Kingdom Calling). Confession: I don’t believe they had no money. They knew that was all the Lame Guy was expecting… but he wasn’t expecting enough.
In the marketplace, Cash is King. Capital throws its weight around constantly. The Bottom Line is the bottom line, every second of the day. To say “I’ve got no money” is the declaration of defeat.
Peter and John were anything but broke: they had two power sources that made bucks and Bitcoins pale in comparison. The Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (the official name of the Messiah) and the on-board presence of the Holy Spirit were the game-changers the Lame Guy never imagined.
It’s still happening today, in the places where graduates of The Master’s Program encounter real need. The assumption is predictable: all they have is money, so that’s all they’re asked to give. After three years with the Master, they know how to address the real problem with real power, and offer solutions that money cannot buy…