Yesterday evening, I had the pleasant experience of leisurely hanging out on a friend’s porch with her kiddos. The kids triathloned from pool to porch, then to house to grab show-and-tell items. In particularly, the 2 kids brought out a pile of trophies—basketball, soccer, and baseball. A few were earned, but some were donated by Grandpa and Uncle. The kids, donning post-pool towels like superhero capes, proudly presented their 1st place spoil, earned or not.
A man was born with an inoperative pair of legs. He must have wondered throughout his life why he was even given legs if all they did was remind him of his infirmity. It must have felt like cruel irony. Legs are for walking and his were a mere accessory. We can read in the subtext of the story the man had given up on all ambulatory wants, when the most he could ask for, even beg for, were a few clinks of silver in his cup.
The man longed for change, so to speak. I am reminded of the Samaritan woman who longed for a drink of water in the middle of the day (John 4) or the woman with the 12-year issue of blood who just longed for the bleeding to cease (Mark 5). These are all legitimate, but incomplete longings. In every case, much more than the request was given. The Samaritan woman was given water that eternally quenches; the bleeding woman was healed and called “Daughter.” The man in Acts 3 longed for pocket change and was transformed into a walking, leaping, worshipper. Beyond healing, all of these (who were previously edged out of civilized society) were brought into the family of God as sons and daughters. There is no greater reward.
I think back on those kids, grinning ear-to-ear with their treasure trove of trophies given not for their great efforts, but out of an overflow of love from Gramps and Uncle. This sounds a lot like grace—like the unmerited prize given to a lame man from a God who is love. The Lord of mercy gives us his Spirit as a promise, a seal much like a first-place trophy in a sport we never mastered, representing eternal life. Like those kids with Olympian smiles, wholly receptive to love, I pray you will fully receive his reward today.
With love in Christ,
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