Let us make a detailed list of what we expect God to do for us in the coming year.
Luke records in the bible the story of a lame man who begged for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. All his wretched life, this man hoped for money, asked for money and begged for money. Indeed, looking for money can be described as the story of his miserable life.
Many of us have similar preoccupations. We spend every day of our lives working for money and making money. Some of us tabulate what we make on a daily basis. Others stretch out their hands to receive wages and salaries at the end of every month.
If we happen to be Christians, we make a point of asking God for money at every turn. We need money to pay our rent; pay school-fees; put food on the table; buy clothes and shoes; pay our debts and make ends meet. Frankly, if we were to analyse our prayers in 2014, we would probably find that we asked for money in the name of Jesus more than we did for just about anything and everything else.
However, money is not our most important requirement. It has not even been our most pressing need in 2014. The lame man at the temple asked for, and expected to receive, money. But what he really needed was healing. He needed to be made whole. Money had not solved, and could not solve, this problem. No matter how much money he received, he remained lame. No matter how much money they gave him, he was back at the gate of the temple the next day asking for more.
This predicament applies to the rich as well as to the poor. No matter how much money we earn, we always seem to need more. Solomon says: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). A man once asked billionaire Nelson Rockefeller: “How much money is enough money?” He replied: “Just a little bit more.”
Therefore, Peter said to the beggar: “Look at us.” (Acts 3:4). He decided to change the man’s focus. The beggar had been asking for the wrong thing. What he needed was the definitive answer to all his needs.
Question of expectations
How we regard 2014 is based entirely on our expectations. If our expectations were met, then 2014 was a great year. But if our expectations were not met, 2014 becomes one big disappointment. Therefore, to get the right result, it is necessary to address life from the level of our wrong expectations. It is of the utmost importance for us to expect the right things. Jesus says: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).
How bad a year was 2014? Was it even bad at all? It all depends on whether our expectations have anything to do with the will of God? Surely, God himself could not have been disappointed with 2014. Surely, God’s divine expectations must have been fully met in 2014.
Was 2014 a bad year for the government of God? Not likely! Isaiah says of God and his Christ: “His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time.” (Isaiah 9:7).
In short, 2014 must have been a good year for the kingdom of God. More people must have come into the knowledge of God. More people must have laid down their lives for Christ’s sake. More people must have entered into God’s rest. More must have received divine healing. Are we included among these by any means?
Ownership of silver and gold
Accordingly, Peter changed the expectations of the beggar. He told him, “I don’t have silver and gold.” Peter knew money was not the answer to his problem. In any case, silver and gold do not belong to Peter. God says: “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine.” (Haggai 2:8).
Peter understood that it is unwise to arrogate to man what God claims as his. No man is born with silver and gold; and when we die, we won’t take silver and gold with us. Aliko Dangote, the richest African, will have to relinquish all his billions when God says “time up!” If the silver and the gold do not belong to us but to God, what then belongs to us? We need to know what is ours by right. We must only insist on what rightfully belongs to us.
Here we can be instructed by the counsel of the psalmist. He was not given any land in Israel. Nevertheless, he says: “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6). What is this inheritance? He declares: “The Lord himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy!” (Psalm 16:5).
It is God that is our inheritance. It is God that is our exceedingly great reward. (Genesis 15:1). Therefore, we should claim God as our portion. If we have God, we cannot lack silver and gold. Everything belonging to God automatically belongs to us. The psalmist says: “The Lord is my shepherd: I have all I need.” (Psalm 23:1).
Therefore, Peter decided to give the beggar not what he asked for, but what Peter had to give. Peter wanted him to know that he had Jesus, the son of the living God. He wanted him to know that while he might not have a pocket full of cash, he was full of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he said to him: “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6).
Excellency of Jesus
With this command, the lame man immediately received life. He started to walk, to run, and to leap. All the money he had received never enabled him to do that. When he begged for money, the more he received the more he begged. But when he received Christ, he stopped begging. He could now get a job. He could now fend for himself. Indeed, he finally got up and went into the temple.
Therefore, let us change our expectations. Let us stop begging and praying for silver and gold. Let us make a detailed list of what we expect God to do for us in the coming year. But let us expect those things that can never disappoint. Let us be focused on those things that pertain to God and his kingdom.
Let us expect a mighty visitation of God in 2015. Let us expect to be closer to him. Let us expect him to enable us to stop telling lies, to stop fornicating, to stop stealing, to stop cheating, to stop complaining, to stop fighting and to stop being hateful.
Jesus says: “Happy are those who long to be just and good, for they shall be completely satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6). As long as we hunger and thirst after righteousness in 2015, we will not be disappointed.