I have been studying Paul, the amazing Apostle, and servant of Jesus. His devoted servant character trait is a strong theme in his life & his writings. Servanthood. God took me back to his conversion, where it all started. Acts 9. Post ‘blinding light’ encounter with Jesus, Paul (Saul) now blind, is taken to Damascus to the house of Judas, he was there for 3 days. Enter a Godly man, Ananias. God told him to go and pray for Paul. (Keep reading this is good)
I am reminded of the story of Jonah, and how in some respects it parallels Ananias. Both men heard God call, one responds, “Yes, Lord” the other, “ran away...” Ananias, reluctant at first, but unlike Jonah, he went (in the right direction). They both were called to detailed obedience. Both were apprehensive due to what was on the other end of their journey if obeyed. Jonah had to be told twice, Ananias only once. Jonah was angry at God’s response, Ananias apprehensive, but regardless was not angry. They both spoke freely and honestly to God, yet they both, in the end, witnessed God’s “grace and compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Jonah 4:1-3) However, one was selfish, the other selfless. Jonah sat outside the city of Nineveh pouting, knowing in the end, God was going to be kind to his enemy. Ananias went to the man, as far as he knew, this Paul guy “was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” (v1) God told Ananias to pray for Paul, he not only prayed, but he greeted Paul by calling him ‘Brother‘ he didn’t pray from across the room out of insecurity, or fear. No, he laid hands on him as instructed. Regardless of being hesitant, he trusted God enough to have his obedience full & then some. Ananias exemplifies a true servant, God trusted him enough, trusted his response to call him to an important task.
What an amazing initiation into this ‘Jesus Way’ for Paul, 3 days in, God sends a whopper of a servant, an example. I am fully persuaded that Paul took note, a very humbled, “I will learn from this!” note. Besides Paul’s retelling of the event in Acts 22, we do not hear any more about Ananias, he quietly slips away from the pages of scripture, but what an impact he had. This seemingly insignificant man Ananias impacted the legend of a man by the name of Paul. Paul received his sight, was baptized, filled with the Spirit, fed and regained his strength and soon headed out preaching that Jesus is the Son of God. (BOOM!)
Ananias and Jonah, both men were marked of God for a specific assignment, yet Jonah’s story paints a wild picture of how our response can throw us into chaos. Yet, ultimately, regardless of how we perceive a situation, God has the final word. (Read his full story, only 4 chapters) I am humbled by these stories, that my first response may be selfish and Jonah-like, yet I so desire that when He calls, entrusting me with an important assignment, I will respond, “Yes, Lord.” Regardless of what or how I feel, that I too would be quick to obey and follow through completely. I want my heart to be as accepting as Ananias’ was, rather than when asked, I’d have to tell a wild fish story of my response.
Servanthood. Surrendering with a selfless, God-honoring response, regardless.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Jonah painting credited: Daniel A. Lewis