How To Be Like Jesus
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.” Acts 3:6 (NIV)
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Something odd happened when I went to the supermarket.
I was standing in the snack food aisle trying to decide between corn chips or pretzels when a man approached me and said, “Sorry to bother you.”
“My wife and daughter were killed in a car accident two weeks ago,” I heard as I realized he was still speaking to me. “And I spent all my money on their funeral but now I need to buy diapers for my grandchild, could you please help me?”
My mouth opened and out came the words, “Sure, go choose them, I’ll meet you back here.”
I paid for the diapers and walked out with him. An internal battle raging about whether or not I should ask if I could pray for him.
You see the day before I had read in the Bible of the time when Peter and John had met a beggar who had asked them for money.
They said they didn’t have any money but would he mind if they prayed for him?
Then they asked that God would heal him and the man who had been crippled for forty years stood up and walked.
It struck me when I was reading Acts 3 how quick I am to either pass beggars by saying I have nothing offer or on philanthropic days I offer money that does very little good.
I’d challenged myself to try and offer active, life-changing prayer to people I met, rather than just paying them to keep silent, and leave me alone.
It struck me that Peter and John didn’t only offer prayer but the dignity of recognizing the beggar as a person with value before God.
The man clutching diapers and I stepped out into the sunlight, and I realized the moment had come for me to follow Peter and John’s example and resemble a little of Jesus incarnated.
I still hesitated though because this man could walk, and it seemed a little stupid, to pray for a man in the middle of mall.
But God got the better part of me so I recklessly said, “Would you mind if I prayed for you quick before we go?”
He said he’d really like that.
I laid my hand on his shoulder and I closed my eyes.
I’m not sure why I closed my eyes because I’m normally a wide-eyed prayer but perhaps the absurdity and solemnity of the moment demanded it.
I prayed that God would continue to provide for his needs, that his heart would know healing and that in these hard times he’s experiencing that he would know God to be very near.
The prayer was uttered in a minute, and I will probably never know whether that prayer changed his life.
Something odd happened yesterday when I went to the supermarket: I learnt how to be Jesus to another person for a minute.
Sometimes I choose not to do things because I don’t know what the outcome will be.
Even worse, I sometimes choose not to do things because I think the other person will think I’m strange or I’m just scared I’ll fumble and looks like a klutz.
I wasn’t any of things to this man who approached me. I wasn’t strange, or fumbling or klutzy.
For a few minutes I was a person who was doing life a lot like Jesus: offering not just hope for the here and now, but for the future.
How would your life look different if you behaved like Peter and John in your everyday life? Ask God to show you one person to pray for today.
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