June 14, 2010

Grace Makes Jolly Beggars

Acts 3:1-16

He went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Acts 3:8


C. S. Lewis wrote about “jolly beggars.” I don’t normally connect those two words, but how about the temple beggar in today’s Scripture? Peter did not give him money, which he asked for. Instead Peter introduced him to the miraculous works of Jesus—and the man instantly walked, jumped, and praised God. A jolly beggar indeed!

We might say, “Of course, he’s jolly. But he’s no longer a beggar. He’s a jolly ex-beggar.” In some physical and financial sense he no longer begs. But a beggar relies on others to meet his needs; the dictionary says a beggar “lives by asking for gifts.” That means all of us who know the Lord are active members of a community of beggars.

If we have known the Lord for a half-day or a half-century, we know that we rely on God to meet our needs. We live by asking for God’s gifts—physical, financial, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual gifts we cannot live without. And every day in grace he gives us what we need.

So far we haven’t had a day in which we haven’t survived! And when that day comes, we will enter heaven, to wait for Jesus’ return, when we will become residents of a new earth and heaven. Then we will still live by the gifts God gives. I guess we will be “jolly beggars” for eternity.

God of abounding grace, we pray that today as we live by asking for gifts, we may enjoy your goodness—and be jolly about it. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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