Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
Eye contact. It's tricky.
When you are at work and the boss is on a rampage, you look to your computer screen and type intently. When you are at church and someone is needed to pray, suddenly you feel the need to study the weave of the carpet. When stopped at the light and you see the beggar on the side of the road, its the radio control or the power of your mind to stare the light to change that demands your time.
But I bet you could look at your newborn baby forever. I bet you could gaze into the eyes of the one you love best for hours with out end.
It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. AMEN. So why is it so hard sometimes to look?
In this small passage Peter and John and the beggar have a lot to teach me. The man in need was not afraid to look at those who might possibly help him. Even more bold than the look, the man actually spoke to strangers and asked for help. It was all he could do; he had no other option than to depend on the kindness or pitty of strangers. Passers by looked on. But not Peter and John - they "looked intently". And with that look they acknowledged the person and the need. They were not uncomfortable with the awkwardness of the situation. The hurt of another prompted not avoidance, but action. I wonder, when they looked at him intently, did the beggar look away? Scripture says they told him to "look at us" - so I would guess that at some point the man in need did in fact avert his eyes from theirs. I have been in need and I have been embarrassed about it - so I get that. Peter and John didn't have what the man was looking for, but they did have what he needed most. I get that too. There are lots of needs around me, and I am limited. But my God is not! When God met his need, the beggar was forever changed. When God met my need - I was changed forever too.
Lord, today help me to look intently at the people you place in my path. Help me to see past what they seek and see to what they need. Help me to be gentle, loving and bold for you. AMEN.