Making Your Programs Work
By: Jill Briscoe
The crooked cripple waited outside the temple gate called Beautiful. Peter and John came along. It was time for a prayer meeting. It would have been easy to walk right on by, but the man looked at them expectantly so they stopped. His expectation wasn’t very high. A mite or two would do – Peter and John didn’t appear to be flush. What a shock he got! What a glorious, fabulous, stupendous shock! After 40 years of immobility the man walked – leapt up and down for joy. He asked for alms – but God gave him legs! (My husband’s line!) Peter and John saw their program work!
It’s a sad commentary on the church that people don’t expect much from us. Just a mite or two. A handout – the usual meager token – the nothing-very-much-giving they’ve grown to expect. But to receive ‘life more abundant’ – to be straight instead of crooked, to stand tall instead of groveling on the ground, and to be independent instead of dependent – now there’s a story! It got everyone’s attention of course, as such a miracle should, and more and more people asked to join the program.
Peter and John’s program worked because it wasn’t theirs, it was His. It was the living, loving, healing, resurrected Jesus’ idea.
What sort of people is the Lord Jesus looking for to run His program of gospel-telling and radical life change? People like Peter and John. Now before you begin the killing game of comparisons – wait! Peter and John are described in the narrative as “unschooled and ordinary men.” Well now, that’s good news for those of us (me included) who have never had the chance to go to Bible school or seminary. (Some of us were too busy putting our partners through.)
Many of us women qualify as “unschooled” – no Master of Divinity for us. The leaders of Israel (schooled men) took note of the fact “that they (the disciples) had been with Jesus!” (Acts 4:13). Ah, so they didn’t need a Master of Divinity – they had been with the Master of Divinity! Now that’s very good news for those of us unschooled and ordinary women who feel inadequate and less than ideally equipped to make our programs work. And of course, it’s obvious to me, the more ordinary we are the more extraordinary He will be seen to be. That way we can make sure that He gets all the credit. Incidentally, you can accomplish anything if you don’t have to take the credit!
So far as I can see from this incident, God can use poor, unschooled, and ordinary people to lend a hand to help this crooked, crippled world up onto its feet for the glory of God! And, after all, that’s what His program is all about. What a joy to be a part!
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.