ACTS 3 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
A lame, dependent man was begging for money. This unfortunate man thought that money was the only answer for his particular plight. Peter and John looked at the vulnerable man. They saw his situation. They asked the troubled man to look at them — to see another way. Peter told him that they had no money to give him but that they had something even better to offer: a healing — a way for him to find his own peace, his own money. The man was willing and he gave his attention to Peter and John who, through the power of Christ, healed him. Peter and John provided a way for him to walk on his own two feet. He rose and started jumping and praising God. It was Beautiful.
The healing power of God is the obvious message. However, upon reflection there is a both a secular and political application.
Today, historic numbers of people are on food stamps. According to PolicyMic.com:
2013 has seen a surge in the use of food stamps which are now at historical records. Currently, a record 47.8 million Americans are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Enrollment in SNAP has increased 70% since 2008 and currently, an unbelievable 15 out of every 100 Americans are on food stamps.
Consequently, the U.S. spent a record $74.6 billion (slightly less than the combined budgets of the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department) on the SNAP program in 2012 alone. That expense has more than doubled since the start of the “Great Recession,” increasing $40 billion dollars since 2008 ($34.6 billion).
There are two political perspectives as to how to handle this problem. The Republicans, the Libertarians, and the constitutionalists want people to have the opportunity, the knowledge, and the tools to independently seek the gate called Beautiful. They believe this can only be done with a limited government that abides by the enumerated powers in the U.S. Constitution.
The Democrats and liberals want to hand out government money in order to convince vulnerable people that dependence on big government is the answer. The trap is set and the weak are caught. The gate called Beautiful is shut.
The media, the culture, and the president tell the vulnerable people, and all Americans, that it is not only socially acceptable but a social responsibility to rely on the government. Yet polls indicate that Americans are angry and unhappy with the government. They are unhappy because this trend in America not only goes against the independent nature of all Americans; it also goes against their moral compass.
Americans do best when they help one another find their way to the gate called Beautiful. Americans are happier when the government stays out of the way. However, the current popular, knee-jerk reaction is for the moral compass to point toward the government as the healer of all societies ills, and those who want big government perpetuate this myth.