March 18, 2024 |

Days ago, as I was driving down the road, I came across a man holding a sign that read, “Please help; will work for food.” Before I could get the window down to give him a few dollars, the light had turned green, and the person behind me was beeping their horn.

I moved to the next light, where I was greeted by another man who had an more creative sign that read, “Family kidnapped by ninjas. Need money for karate lessons.”

Needless to say, I gave this individual the two dollars. Even though his sign was meant to evoke humor, it did not negate the reality of his situation. This man was standing on the side of the road begging.

As I began to drive, my mind went to the scripture in Acts 3, when Peter and John went up to the temple for prayer. The Bible describes a man crippled from birth who was carried to this gate called Beautiful every day. As Peter and John were about to enter the temple, this disabled man who sat by the gate asked them for spare change.

Peter and John responded, “Look at us…. I don’t have any money, but I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazarene, rise up and walk.” They grabbed the man by his right hand, and strength came to his feet and ankles. Suddenly, the man who was asking for spare change did not get the change he was asking for, but he indeed received the change he needed. This change caused him to praise God.

Sometimes, we find ourselves like the man in our text, asking for change when God has something more significant to give us. God has the change we need, and it is sometimes not the change we are asking for.

This text also helps us understand that God surrounds us with those who have the resources to bring supernatural change into our lives. As we are in this season of Lent, many have asked themselves, “What does God want me to give up for Lent?” However, the greater question should be, “What does God want to change in my life?”

I’ve been preaching sermons on the importance of forgiveness and repentance. At other churches, I’ve been preaching on the significance of the cross and what it means to be people of justice as we care for the oppressed and forgotten.

Yet, today, my spirit is calling for change. Change that sets the captives free. Change that makes pastoring easy. Change that revitalizes our worship services. Change that brings restoration to broken families.

So, the next time you see someone on the side of the road begging, ask yourself, “What type of change do they need?” The hymnologist said, “Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.”

May God be our vision during this season, so we become the change the world needs!

The William M. Williams, III, is GNJ’s Meadowlands District Superintendent

Republished from the Metro-Highlands Regional Newsletter