In Acts 2, the Spirit fills the disciples, and they overflow in bold proclamation of the Gospel. This overflow leads to the conversion of more than 3000 people and the birth of the church of Christ. But in Acts chapter 3, the Spirit overflows in a new way. Peter and John heal a lame beggar. Here’s the account starting in Acts 3:1:
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
The beggar asks for alms, money. But he doesn’t get money. Peter and John, who were likely just as broke as this beggar have something better than money. They have the Spirit of God, who loves to overflow into the lives of others. So with a word, Peter heals the beggar and then, as you can see, the newly healed man rejoices with zeal.
This is a wonderful example of the way that God often works in our lives. We are like the beggar, destitute, forgotten, and lame. And we, in our poverty, ask for healing or money or something to alleviate our suffering. And God, in His mercy, answers us, but rarely by granting our request. If Peter had given the beggar money, he would have said “thanks” and spent it and then he would be back where he started. But he was given an immeasurably more wonderful gift, and he responds with great joy.
If God gives us all that we ask, we may have some great stuff for a while, but if He gives us what we need, when we ask for what we want, we will be eternally satisfied. This is because what we need is better than what we want, so God, like Peter, gives not what we ask, but something overwhelmingly greater and more precious.
We ask for a toy jet and he gives us a ride in a fighter plane. We ask for flower and he gives us a field in full bloom. We ask for roof and he gives us a mansion. We ask for a drink and he gives us the best wine. We ask for bread and he gives us a banquet.
No one in their right mind would be disappointed with their gifts in that moment, for what you receive is so much greater than what you asked for.
This is how God deals with His children. We ask for a single breath and He gives us eternity through the grace of Jesus Christ.