“Such as I Have …”

Acts 3:6 says, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee: in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise and walk”.

These were Peter’s words to a man who had never walked. He had been born lame more than forty years before. Which of the two options do you suppose he would have taken had Peter offered: A large sum of gold and silver or the ability to do something he had never before done — walk? Well, human nature being what it is, some might have chosen the silver and gold, but with the beggar I doubt he would have. What do you think?

Suppose the same option was laid before the blind man in John 11, who like the lame man of Acts three was “of age”? But instead of being born lame, he had been born blind. Which of these two options do you think he would have chosen, had such an option been given to him? Which option would you have chosen?

Suppose, once again, that such an option had been presented by the Master to Jarius, a ruler of a synagogue after messengers from Jairus’ house came with these words: “Thy daughter dead. Trouble not the Teacher” (Luke 8:49). What do you think Jarius’ choice would have been, a huge pile of gold or life returned to his precious, twelve-year-old daughter?

Some do make foolish choices. When Esau came in from the field weary and hungry from his hunting that day and smelled the savory meat Jacob, his brother, was cooking, he asked Jacob for something to eat. Jacob took advantage of Esau’s hunger and thoughtlessness and said, “Sell me thy birthright” and he did. And what did Esau give Jacob in exchange for that savory meat? Esau gave up his birthright, which came to him because he was the firstborn son and was a double portion of his father’s estate. Because there were only two children, Esau would have received two-thirds of whatever Isaac had. Thus he gave up one-third of Isaac’s estate. That amounted to a very large sum because Isaac was a very rich man. He had received all that his father Abraham had left because Isaac was the only son Abraham had by his legal wife, Sarah.

Besides, having initially received a very large inheritance, there would have been the increase that accumulated to what he already had by the time of his death. Had Esau not made such a foolish choice, he would have received a very large estate. He allowed momentary hunger to blind him to the value of what he gave away. The Hebrew writer commented on Esau’s thoughtlessness when he called Esau a “profane person” who “for one mess of pottage, sold his own birthright” (Hebrews 12:16). How foolish, one says. “I wouldn’t have done that”. But many do and give away something worth far more than what Esau foolishly bargained away.

Jesus asked, “For what shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:20). It boggles the mind to think about the exact worth of the world. Thus who can begin to fathom the value of the soul? And, every living person has such a treasure within him, something worth more than the whole world!

Some trade away their soul for a brief moment of pleasure. Some trade away  their soul for the praise of men. Some trade away their soul for other trifling things. Some never once consider how valuable their soul truly is.

Esau’s choice was permanent. Once it was traded away it was gone forever. Jacob wasn’t about to give it back because he had coveted it. He knew its value — something Esau didn’t. The “such as I have” Peter gave the lame beggar was worth infinitely more than silver and gold. The same with the blind man and Jarius. When Jacob received Esau’s foolish consent, however wrong Jacob’s action may have been to have made it, he was not about to turn loose of it. Jacob recognized the worth of “such as I have” that Esau had.

Do we recognize the “such as I have” that God can give to us — an eternal home and eternal life? When Esau ate that morsel of bread, his loss was forever, although he did regret and sought diligently with tears to reverse it. If we wait until judgment to recognize the worth of our soul, we will be in the same sad state. Thanks be to God that His “such as I have” is still within our grasp. Don’t let death and the judgment find you without it!

Jim McDonald