The Men of Steel looked into this topic; this lame man represents all men and the issues we face:
- Who was the Lame Man at the Gate? (Acts 3:1, 2, 3)
- What are You Expecting From the Church?
- How Did You Get Where You Are?
- Are You Trapped at the Gate?
- Was the Lame Man at the Gate Distracted?
I thought I was finished with the Lame Man at the Gate, but not so fast, here’s part four… I find his story very appropriate for men today, and I have another observation to bring up. (Acts 3:2)
Remember that friends carried this lame guy to the gate, and at the end of the day they took him back to his home. Take a look at just where they left him; at a gate of the temple that was so beautiful that they called it the “Beautiful Gate.” See the irony? This man had an ugly problem and it matters little that he was at the Beautiful Gate! Any man with an ugly problem (visible or secret) cannot enjoy or appreciate the beauty around him.
Don’t forget, all this is taking place in the Promised Land, the “land flowing with milk and honey.” This was a descriptive for God’s care, provision and blessing; providing His people with the land that He promised Abraham generations ago. As a lame man, he was not able to enter the temple (2 Samuel 5:8), which was reserved for able-bodied men. Even though he was in the right place, he’s not really a part of the religious community.
Today, so many men are close to being in the right place, they are not fully there. They’re close enough to the church to know what’s going on, to know who’s who and what is being preached, but they are not all the way into the body of Christ. These guys are trapped at the gate.
The contemporary Christian music group, Building 429, has a song out called, “You Carried Me” (fits the lame theme, right?). Here are a few lines from the song…
I’ve been so busy. I missed the reasons.
I missed Your love and I nearly missed it all.
Still You’ve held me and You’ve healed me.
You’ve given all and it brought me to Your cross.
And I stand only because
You’ve given me grace to walk, only because…
You carried me. You carried me.
You carried me through it all.
And I believe. Yes I believe.
You’ll carry me all the way home, ‘cause mercy covers all.
I know the Scripture. I’ve known the songs.
I sang the words from my hollowed heart.
But You’ve spoken softly through the storm.
I’ve heard Your voice and I’ve felt the calm.
We can be so familiar with the church and the ritual that we fail to encounter the God whom the church worships and serves. He is the only reason we gather in the first place. Men can sit at a distance, at a beautiful gate, and then feel as if they are exactly where they need to be. But they are still trapped by their ugly problem, this whole life-affecting problem. They don’t get it; that God can heal their heart, their marriage, their family, their relationships, and touch their soul and bring peace, purpose and potential.
All this to say that men today can be so close to the church yet still embrace the problem that causes their lameness. Rather than going through the motions, we need to get connected to the source of life, meaning and our only real help. God can carry us through our brokenness, and when that happens, the essence of the beautiful gate will rub off on us and we can live up to it’s name.