“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple.”
Moving from the Court of the Gentiles, Jews would pass through a sixty foot wide gate called “Beautiful” and enter into a large court called the Court of the Women. During the time of morning and evening sacrifices, this great entrance was the place of public worship for the Jews. It was called the Court of Women not because there were only Jewish women there but because Jewish women could not go beyond it. Inside this court was stationed eleven treasure chests for the voluntary offerings of money. It is in this court where Jesus was sitting when He saw a widow put into one of the treasuries her only two mites. (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-2)
It was at this wide entrance that a lame man, recorded in Acts 3, was placed every day. Beggars always positioned themselves in the most advantageous places to receive a handout. This man knew the Jews would be bringing their offerings to the Lord so what better way to cash in on some loot. Not only was the handout to benefit the beggar, it would also profit his family or friends who brought him. Was there an ulterior motive? Maybe! Who, whose pockets were filled with coins, could resist helping someone in need? While the lame man begged, in walked Peter and John to this man’s request for a handout. Peter told the man he did not have any silver or gold much less a coin. I suppose, like many of us today, it was easier for Peter to carry his Jewish Express Card than a pocket full of change. Peter told this man that what he did have, the authority to heal the sick, he would gladly give him, and he did. The lame man, who came for alms, received the ability to walk for the first time.
Jews gathered in the Court of the Women for two reasons: to get or to give. The lame man came to get and the widow came to give. The lame man came to receive a blessing while the widow came to be a blessing. Who receives the greater blessing, the one who wants a blessing or the one who blesses? The lame man received a healing he never expected because of Peter’s boldness but the widow caused Jesus to look and notice. Jesus bragged on her to His disciples. The lame man praised Jesus for what he received while Jesus praised the widow for what she sacrificed.
Why do you worship, work, and witness? Is it to get or to give? Are you always anticipating what you will get or do you look for an opportunity to give? Are you consumed with wanting a blessing or would you rather be a blessing? You are either spiritually lame because you focus on what you may get from God or spiritually maturing because you focus on what you can give for the glory of God. If God can heal the lame man from his physical limitations, He can set you free from your spiritual limitations. It is a joy to praise Jesus for His blessings but it is a greater joy to know Jesus rejoices in your willingness to be a blessing. Today, would you look for an opportunity to be a blessing?