Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 14, 2013


The world needs more ordinary people like Ananias


            I had the honor of being the father of five sons. Their mother and I gave them all common biblical names – David, Matthew, Mark, Timothy and Stephen.

            Had my wife birthed 15 sons we would not have considered naming one of them Ananias. But I like the name. Though uncommon it reminds me that ordinary people can live useful lives.

            In the orchestra of life Ananias played the piccolo, not the violin. He had a minor role. He was certainly not a percussionist like Abraham, Moses or David, for example. But Ananias had a part and he played his part well.

            Ananias is mentioned only once in the Bible. In the amazing life of the man called Saint Paul, Ananias comes on stage only one time. (You find this story in the ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, a book in the New Testament.) Ananias plays a minor role in the conversion of Paul, then known as Saul, the persecutor of Christians.

            After Saul becomes blind, one result of his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road, he is led helplessly into the city. God takes pity on him and sends help. He taps Ananias for that assignment. Reluctantly Ananias accepts the job even though he sees it as a dangerous mission. Ananias is a Christian and he knows that Saul is busy throwing Christians into prison.

            Despite the risk of being imprisoned Ananias followed God’s orders. He goes to Saul, explains that Christ has sent him, lays his hands upon Saul and prays for him. Immediately Saul’s vision is restored and he is filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Ananias baptizes Saul and they sit down and enjoy a meal together. They are new friends in Christ, actually now “brothers” in the faith.

            What attracts us to Ananias is that when he was called upon to serve, he did just that. He was an ordinary man who did what was asked of him. He had no credentials. He did not thereafter become a “great leader” in the emerging church. He played the piccolo in one performance and we hear from him no more.

             In contrast Saul gets a new name and a mighty mission from God. He goes on to become the greatest Christian missionary of the ages while writing a major portion of the New Testament.

            Were we voting for a “Man of the Year,” we would not choose Ananias. But God has a way of choosing ordinary people who may then, with the grace given them, serve him in extraordinary ways. I need to remember that daily, so that when he calls my name I am ready to walk out the door and do what he asks of me.

            Doctor Luke, who tells us this story of Ananias, says a simple thing about Ananias: “So Ananias went.” I need to live so that it can be said of me one day, “God said go and Walter went.” The role we play is God’s business. Our business is to be obedient when our name is called.

Listen carefully today. God may need another piccolo player so be ready to walk out the door if he calls your name. + + +