Peter saw an opportunity to reach out with Christ's love and healing of both physical and mental anguish - and the man was healed.
Thoughts flooded through my head.
Does God have lots of blessings for us? Does He have lots that He wants to give to us? What does Jesus Christ offer to us?
Here in acts we see healing in His name. We celebrate the Easter message with the vision of eternal life. Jesus says, "For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God has claimed us back to Him. For mental heath, we are offered peace. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7)
Then, I remember back to the story read as child about blessings -- you know, the beatitudes. Jesus himself offers to the crowd:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I'll stop with that... but take a moment and look at the blessings that Jesus offered! To His listeners!
So, as a servant of Christ, I am recipient of lots from God. Wow!
Okay... so maybe I should stop right there with the message. Just take the good things and run.
Go home, sit on the couch like a queen, waiting for God to pour forth upon me...
Isn't that what all that I've shown above means? I am the recipient -- from God. He has gifts -- for me! Yipee!
Well... The thoughts in church didn't stop with those above. Instead, I thought of the word "relationship". The definition says, "the quality or state of being related; connection." So then I thought of "connection" -- what does that involve? Can I be lone and have a connection? Can this "connection" be one sided with one side doing all the work? The dictionary says,"to join or fasten; link; couple." At this point, I am thinking that God wants and will give me many things. But there is something required of me as well. I'm not a queen on the throne (or couch) just waiting for Him to serve me.
Instead, I looked up the word "relationship" and see that with God the relationship is entered in by my faith. He expressed His love for His people (Jews) through the covenant. And yes, we now have a new covenant through Jesus Christ. "The fulfillment of God's purposes of salvation expressed in the covenants of the OT, mediated by Jesus Christ and sealed in his blood. It is a covenant of grace, the benefits of which include forgiveness, a renewed relationship with God and, through the Holy Spirit, an inward transformation that enables obedience to its demands and so ensures that it will not again be broken." (Zondervan Bible Dictionary)
Again, I could stop right here. I have the good news of what I CAN HAVE.
But it just doesn't seem right. Yes, God has much for us. But we are in a relationship. I can't do all the taking...
So... what can I give back to the God above all Gods?
If someone gives you something, what do you do in return? So, I ask you, now that we see all that God gives to us -- what do you offer Him in return?
What do you offer back to God?