“Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give to you; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” With these simple words from Peter in Acts 3, years of a crippled physique and a weak body were erased, resulting in a man who was “lame from his mother’s womb” instantly leaping up off the ground and praising God with every step – something he had never done before in his life. Many days had passed where this man had sat at the gate of the temple called Beautiful, and asked passerby’s for just a small bit of change to help him get through the day. Anything they could spare would certainly make a difference in this man’s life, enabling him the simple strength to survive, even though, by all suppositions, wouldn’t be very much longer. Yet whenever he asked two of the Apostles of Christ for such, supposing them to be just simple temple patrons, Peter responded that he had no money to give. What he did have however, was far more reaching than silver and gold, and the gift that he bestowed on him enabled him not just to have the physical strength to survive another day, but the spiritual strength to acknowledge that what he desired most came from God.
In light of that, what do we base our happiness on? In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus tells His followers (and anyone for that matter), not to lay up for themselves treasures on this earth, where they can be easily destroyed, but to lay up for themselves treasures in Heaven, where nothing on earth can take them away. I have long since assumed that that passage dealt mainly with matters of the flesh – Jesus emphasizing not to put hope on that new car you want, but on the Bible – but the next verse plainly disputes that fact. Verse 20 of the same chapter tells us that “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.” This man at the Temple gate had no doubt placed his expectations and his heart on the daily receiving of alms from those that passed near him, not ever believing anything else was possible. However, when Peter and John came by and offered him the gift of Jesus, Peter says that it was “the faith which comes through Him [that] has given Him this perfect health in the presence of all” (Acts 3:16).
I would be willing to say to you that the farthest thing from the lame man’s mind after he was healed was the amount of money he was going to receive that day, but rather the realization that he received something far better than silver and gold. So we do also receive something that is far better than earthly possessions when we see past the shallow musings of this life, and put our hope in God. When we base our trust and happiness on things of this life, as Jesus says, “moth will break through and steal.” But when we root our soul into God’s will, nothing can take that away. People may like you one day, and hate you the next. You may have more money than you know what to do with one second, and be living on the streets a second later. That’s the uncertainty of life, and if we measure our success in this life by such things, we will forever be slaves to the ups and downs of an earthly existence. However, if we root our foundation in the stable rock that Christ has presented to us, and seek only His approval, we shall stand firm during whatever storms may come our way (Matthew 7:24-25).
God is willing to call us “His God,” if we will but look to the happiness that He has set before us. The people in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 certainly abandoned many of their own desires in order to take up the banner of Jehovah, confessing that they were “pilgrims and exiles on the earth.” Why would they say they were pilgrims? Because the riches of this world were not what they wanted. Rather they sought after “a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Heb. 11:13-16). It was said of Moses later in the chapter that he refused to indulge in the “passing pleasures of sin,” and chose rather to “endure ill-treatment with the people of God” (Heb. 11:24-25). It is because of this foresightedness to look past the treasures of this life that today we are not talking about some heir of Pharoah that had a great time in the palace, but a hero of our faith that provides an eternal example of the glory that awaits those who put their riches in the Lord. This is the true happiness, and we would do well to realize the joy that awaits those who wait on the Lord. As the song goes:
“Happiness is to know the Savior,
Living a life within His favor,
Having a change in my behavior,
Happiness is the Lord!”Last modified: February 27, 2019