Such As I have
By Jody Griffin
Avery and Mitchell County
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. (Acts 3:6)
Struggling to find the words needed to address the spiritual anguish of a gentleman who had suffered an enormous loss in his family due to COVID left me physically and emotionally spent. And then, the scene seemed to replay itself repeatedly for the days-weeks-months-a year and counting. Chaplains have been tested and tried by this reality everywhere, but the unique challenge of these days in the world of Corrections brought this particular Chaplain to a lesson that has helped tremendously.
We sometimes find ourselves confronted with circumstances that point out the lack of resources at our disposal. The temptation is to feel inadequate, ill-equipped, and even illegitimate. “What can I do to help amid this disaster? How can I best help those who are knocked back by these circumstances?”
The answer leaped off the pages of the Scripture today! In this simple statement, Peter captures (see what I did there?) the central Truth of the challenge of prison ministry.
The world in which we serve is in search of someone to notice their plight as they beg for help on the journey of life. Believers are overwhelmed by the enormity of the needs and often excuse ourselves from the fact that we are called to be present and active amid these needs.
“But…what can I do? How can I make a difference? I’m just one person and I have so little to offer.”
The disciples of Jesus were likewise faced with needs far beyond their abilities to address. Peter’s example in this situation is one for anyone looking to be an authentic disciple today. He knew that he had only what God would give. So he responded to this plea for assistance by saying, “No money here… but I do have something you need! In the name of Jesus, stand up and walk.”
Reflecting on this passage presents clarity in these days of the challenge. The call of ministry is not to provide what everyone wants, but to offer what everyone NEEDS! And THE most pressing need of every human being is to be made whole by experiencing the Healing Power of Jesus Christ.
Peter knew that he was not the healer. He knew that he was no one’s Savior. But his personal relationship with the Savior of the world allowed him to see a need, speak to the need and then in the Name of Jesus, meet that need.
Thankfully there are now signs that volunteers may soon be allowed back inside the facilities. I have no idea when this will happen, but I know it’s closer today than it has been for over a year. It may or may not resemble the way we did it before COVID, but still, the hope of gathering as a group of Christian believers is alive and well!
Meanwhile, this Chaplain will continue to confess, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…”
God Bless you for supporting the High Country Prison Ministry! I am humbled and honored to serve the incarcerated, the staff, and the families of Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution.
Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more good Christian news from Jody HERE.