God loves to honor our seeds of faith with abundantly more.
Between the ages of about 7 and 13, my dad raised myself, my younger sister, and my older brother mostly on his own. My memories from that period of my life are nothing if not exciting – whenever someone makes pancakes, it only takes a faint scent for me to conjure up images of dad making pancakes for dinner (for the third time that week) with all of us kids dancing around asking him to make one in the shape of Mickey Mouse.
I can also remember being about 7 or 8 and giving my dad a piece of my lungs as he scraped a brush through my long, thick hair. The next day he took me to a family friend who cut hair and said, “chop it all off”. So, I rocked an incredibly short bob with bangs which, as we all know, didn’t look very hip.
Growing up with a dad playing the dual parental role had its times of fun and great memories. We travelled together, laughed together, and my siblings and I became very close. But the hard moments we faced with my birth mother made me lose faith in ever having a mother who was equipped to parent well.
I can remember praying in my pink bedroom in our ranch home in Alabama, “Father, just give me a mom who is nice. Give me someone who will be nice.”
In my young mind, I didn’t know what to pray for. I only knew to pray for someone who would be nice. When it came to what I knew about moms, my experience was full of turmoil, sudden changes in emotion, instability, and fear. I had been around my friends’ mothers though, and I knew that they were nice – so that is exactly what I prayed for: niceness.
Flash forward to this year: I’ve now been married for a little over six years and I was scrolling through Facebook looking back at my wedding photos. I don’t get emotional very easily, but I definitely got a little teary looking through photo after photo of myself with my inherited/adopted mom, Jennifer. There are photos of us laughing at each other dancing on the dance floor, or praying together before the ceremony, or her helping me get my wedding dress on, or just our faces squished together smiling for the camera. It’s so easy to see now that God gave me way more than I ever knew to pray for. I prayed for nice and he gave me a mom, a friend, a confidante, a mentor, and so much more. It made me realize that when we ask God for the desires of our hearts and plant seeds of faith that we know only He can fulfill, He gives us endless sun and water until we have a garden full of beautiful plants.
When I looked at the seed I planted when I was a child, I didn’t know what it would be. I honestly couldn’t even fathom it. I didn’t know what to pray for. Luckily, God is bigger – He already saw the garden He could create, and I think our seeds of faith are necessary for those things to happen. I didn’t know what to pray for, but I did have faith that God could change my situation. When we plant seeds of faith, God honors that with love and abundantly more.
The lame beggar in Acts 3
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is the lame beggar outside the temple from Acts chapter 3.
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”
The lame man was just going about his everyday business – he was begging for money. I read over this for years and years, because, if we are familiar with this story, we all know where this is headed. A miracle is on the horizon.
But today, let’s focus on the lame beggar – this man was sitting outside the temple. We have no reason to believe he ever went inside the temple. We also have no indication that he had ever encountered Jesus before. He just was going about his daily business. He would sit outside the temple and ask for money.
This is my life. This is my existence. And if someone can help me out, I’ll be ok- for today.
The lame beggar reminds me of myself praying my childlike prayer – “I just want someone who will be nice”. How often are we all like this, praying for things to get us through TODAY. Praying for sustenance for the now, or to get through a hard period in our lives. These things are not bad! In fact, sometimes these are all we are capable of praying for – sometimes we are in a season where we are only able to see hours or even minutes ahead. And that’s OK. They are all we know to ask for. But what we are about to see is that we are offered abundantly more every day.
Sitting outside the temple
When Peter and John arrive at the temple, the lame beggar does notice them. In fact, he directly asks them for money. But Peter basically tells him to snap out of it, “Look at me!”. The beggar looks at them, expecting them to give him money. His mind is still in the here and now.
Peter says that he doesn’t have what the beggar is looking for, but he makes him walk. Peter changes the lame beggars life in an instant – now he is the formerly lame former beggar. As soon as he is healed, the passage says the beggar jumped up and ran straight into the temple:
“8Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God”
Later on, the passage also says that people began flocking to him to figure out how this happened!
Here’s the thing – the lame beggar had a life-changing experience and he immediately ran into the temple and began praising God. He was a man who had resigned himself to sit outside the temple begging for his whole life. He was not 200 feet from the entrance to the house of God for most of his life as far as we know, and he never went inside. Or at least, we have no record of that happening.
I think of my childlike prayer as a lame beggar moment. I didn’t know what to pray for. I was sitting outside the temple just begging for money. I was begging for help for today. I was asking for someone to get me through. Aren’t we all like this sometimes? Moreover, don’t we all know believers and nonbelievers alike who live their lives like this every day? They have resigned themselves to sitting outside the temple, when the door inside sits just a short distance away and…you know what? The doors are always wide open.
Embrace abundantly more
I think, in a way, we all are people who have become perfectly content with our seat outside the temple gates, perfectly content asking for what will get us through the “now”, but I also know that we serve a God who is fully able and prepared to give us abundantly more than we even know what to ask for. So today I want to encourage us all with this thought – God changed the beggar’s life in a single moment through Peter and John. The beggar had no idea what was coming, but that moment changed his life forever. And his destiny was always right inside the gates he sat outside Every. Single. Day.
What gates are you sitting outside of right now? What is the “abundantly more” you are asking of God? Ask Him for it, then run through the open gates. They are already held wide open just for you. Abundance is free for the taking, because we serve a God who chose us, loved us, and made us in His image. Ask for abundantly more. Receive abundance. Then rejoice and share your abundance, friend.
With Great Joy,