Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Pentecostal energy now begins to find one of its spheres. The power of preaching Christ, crucified and risen, had already been proved. The power of healing was now put forth. The power of testifying before rulers and princes was soon to be shown. The power of toiling, suffering, and dying for Christ would ere long find its expression. Observe —
I. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF POWER "Such as I have give I thee." It must have been a very high and inspiring moment for Peter when he thus felt the healing energy of Christ ready to work through him. We have often been disposed to envy the skilful physician who, when visiting a diseased sufferer, is so conscious of mastery over the disease that he is able to say, "I can heal you." So many of the sorrows of our life master us that we feel to grow big when we are conscious of the power to make and master any one of them. A simple illustration taken from the life of M'Cheyne sets this point clearly: "His custom in preparing for the pulpit was to impress on his memory the substance of what he had before carefully written, and then to speak as he found liberty. One morning, as he rode rapidly along to Dunipace, his written sermons were dropped on the roadside. This accident prevented him from having the opportunity of preparing in his usual manner, but he was enabled to preach with more than his usual freedom. For the first time in his life he discovered that he possessed the gift of extemporaneous composition, and learned, to his own surprise, that he had more composedness of mind and command of language than he had believed." That is to say, through this providential circumstance he was awakened to the consciousness of power. What we need in these our times is a higher faith in the varied and abundant gifts with which the Church .and the individual Christian are endowed, and a keener power of discernment to find these gifts in ourselves and in others. But powers differ in different persons, both in kind and in degree. None are without some kind of faculty and ability which they may lay on the altar of God's service.
1. What is called "wealth" is power. All beyond needful expenditure is a man's wealth. Wealth is what I can save and win by self-denial for the service of others and the glory of God. In that sense we are all of us more or less wealthy, and we might be much wealthier than we are. Such wealth is holy power. A poor widow could glorify God with the wealth of her two mites. But some have wealth in the commoner sense. And your wealth is power — a dreadful power if it has not been first presented to God to be used for Him; a glorious power if it has.
2. Intellect is power. Every man who knows a little more than his neighbour has the trust of a power. It is evident that he can teach and lead others. Surely these times are making larger demands every day on Christian intelligence in these sceptical days. The battle of Christian truth is as that great battle of Inkerman — a soldiers' battle, a people's battle — each one of us in our varied spheres making Christian knowledge and experience tell upon the conservation of the Christian verities.
3. Art is power. Such painters as Holman Hunt and Sir Noel Paten are but the high examples of endowments that come in measure to some of us. In Sunday-school spheres and among the children there is room for the consecration of the draughtsman's skill. And still there is given to men and women the Divine gift of song, and they may "sing for Jesus." No door will be shut against your song.
4. But every Christian has spiritual power. In this he is like Peter. He may, if he will, lay hold of and use the great power of God. But this lies dormant in so many of us. We could give something to men, something healing, vitalising, the very thing which the dying world wants. And what more do we want? Only what Peter had that day — the consciousness of power. This would stir in us holy impulses, would shake us out of selfishness and apathy. Remember that the words "I cannot" have no place upon a Christian's lips, if they are applied to any right and good and holy work. Thou hast power with God and with men, and thou mightest prevail.
II. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONSCIOUS POWER. All God's gifts to us are for our giving away to others. Keep any of God's gifts to yourself and they will speedily rot. You can no more store up God's present-day manna than the old Israelites could store up the bread that came down from heaven. If He makes an arm strong, it is for work. If He makes a leg strong, it is for walking in search of somebody to help. If He makes a voice strong, it is that we may plead earnestly with our fellow-men for Him, or that we may win men with the gospel-song. If He makes a heart strong, it is that we may inspire others to a nobler life. Try to dam up God's living streams of blessing, and make a pond in your own grounds, and they will cease to be living streams, they will soon become disease-breeding, stagnant waters, and you will have to be content with the pond, for God will cut off the waters at the fountain-head. "He that hath not (does not make a worthy use of what he has), from him shall be taken away that which he seemeth to have."
(R. Tuck, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.