by Tad Lindley
Sometimes we get into the mindset that if we only had enough money, all of our problems would be fixed. That’s why you may have been in meetings where somebody said, “If we could just get a grant…” The other half of their statement could be any one of a hundred problems that beset us. If we could just get enough grant money, our kids could pass the tests. If we could just get enough grant money we could stop the flow of drugs and alcohol, we could fix the obesity epidemic, we could teach parents to quit bingo and spend time with their kids, hire more VPSOs, get a bigger jail, cure AIDS, hire more teachers, hire more social workers, pay someone to clean up our landfills, we could find out what’s happening to the king salmon, we could cure ulcers, we could send more people to college, we could get a bigger runway, a bus system, keep people from committing suicide, or keep our children entertained. I could go on and on and the list could fill the entire column.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against grants. My job is partially grant funded, and chances are good that yours is too. Much of our infrastructure in the United States originated as grant-funded projects, but there are some things that grants may not be the answer to.
Looking for a hand out
For 38 years he had been crippled. His legs were not strong enough to carry him, so he had to be carried. Since he was unable to work, he had some friends carry him every day to a place where many people passed on foot. From this busy spot he would call out to passersby and asked for a grant. Occasionally somebody would be moved by compassion to give him a few dollars. It was this income that kept him going from day to day.
Then one day, a couple of Pentecostal preachers were passing by. They were on their way to the temple to pray. It was about 3:00 PM. The beggar asked them for financial support. The preachers stopped, and stared at the man. One of the preachers, Peter, said to him, “Look at us.” At that point the crippled man thought that they were going to pull out their billfolds and drop some cash in his hands.
Getting a hand up
His hopes were dashed when the preacher said, “We’re broke,” but the preacher went on to say, “But I’ve got something else, and I’ll give it to you.” Of course all this happened in a couple of seconds, and the beggar perhaps wondered, “Will he give me a gold ring or some other valuable object that I can sell?” The Pentecostal preacher’s next words were completely unexpected: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:1-8) The Reverend Steve Sanders describes it this way: He was looking for a handout, but instead he got a hand up!
What do you need?
Think about this for a moment. If we could step into the scene at 2:00 PM on the day that Peter and John went to the temple and ask the lame man what he needed to stop begging, he would have given us a dollar figure. He might have said, “If I had a million dollars, I’d be set for life. I’d never have to beg again.” What he wouldn’t be realizing is that there is something far greater than another grant; the mighty move of God. And at 3:00 PM the power of God moved in such a way that he never had to beg another day in his life, and it cost nothing!
Sometimes we can get so fixated on what we think is the answer to our problem, when what we really need is to place it in the hands of God. Drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions, eating disorders, sexual perversion, and domestic violence at the root are all spiritual issues. I thank God that we have treatment centers and jails and battered women’s shelters, but no amount of money can stop those facilities from being filled with hurting people. The only thing that can ever empty out PATC, YKCC, TC, and TWC is the delivering power of God in our lives. We don’t need another grant from the hand of government, what we need is to seek the face and the healing power of God.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.