There are certain biblical characters who, without great detail and explanation of their lives, have captivated me through the written Word. One such holy man is Ananias. There are a few different Ananias’s mentioned throughout Scripture of varying degrees of holiness. I'm referring to the Ananias of Acts 9.
Who Was Ananias?
Ananias was a disciple of Jesus who lived in Damascus during the time of the persecution of Saul. Around the same time of Saul’s dramatic conversion experience, the Lord came to Ananias and informed him that he must seek out Saul and visit the Christian persecutor so that Ananias may give him back his sight. The Lord told Ananias that He told Saul in a dream that Ananias would do so. Ananias, after asking a few clarifying questions of God, did as God commanded him and restored Saul’s sight.
Ananias of Damascus is only mentioned in this one chapter.
And yet I believe there are volumes to be learned from his example. I believe that Ananias demonstrates the perfect model of anyone in ministry and service, and I believe he does this through his:
- courage, and
Ananias was open and receptive to the promptings of God in his life. When he heard the Lord calling him, Ananias responded with the genuine and surrendering response made so famous by Samuel: “Here I am, Lord.”
Only someone who is docile to the Holy Spirit is able to discern the Lord’s call in this busy life and able to respond with such promptness and openness. Within ministry, I believe that docility and openness to the Lord is one of the greatest virtues we can foster. After all, our goal in ministry is to bring others to Jesus and not to ourselves. If we are not listening to His Word, letting Him speak through us, and giving the Spirit the space to work, then we are not truly bringing Jesus to other people.
Ananias was undoubtedly courageous. Earlier in the book of Acts, we learn that Saul was well-known for brutally persecuting the Christians of his time. At the beginning of Acts 9 we read that the very reason that Saul was traveling to Damascus was to do just that: persecute the Christians of the land. Saul was infamous among the Christians as someone to avoid. And yet, it is to this man—a man who could have easily killed Ananias—that the Lord called Ananias to minister.
Ananias expressed his fear to the Lord in going to see Saul: Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem… // Acts 9:13
And yet, when the Lord asked him to do this thing, Ananias did it. He trusted in the Lord, knowing that He would never leave him or let him down. To do this would require great courage on the part of Ananias.
In ministry, we are going to be called to minister to those who disagree with us, who shame us, who make a bad name of us, and who even hurt us. But like Ananias, we can trust that where the Lord leads He also goes with. He will not leave us alone in the frightening and dangerous situations, but can bring great good out of it. We need only be courageous and trust Him.
Ananias is only mentioned in this one chapter of Acts of the Apostles. He performs the miracle of giving Saul back his sight. One miracle in one man’s life. And yet it begs the question: if Ananias had not been open to the Lord’s will, would we be missing a Saint that is as influential to all of Christianity as that of the great Saint Paul? Ananias’s service and renown might not seem that great, but without him, where would we be?
Similarly, we never know who it is that we might encounter in our ministry. Maybe it is not our calling to become a world-famous preacher or evangelist (it most likely isn’t). But we never know what our small actions might, in turn, put in to action. If we can be humble enough to do our small parts well, then we can trust the Lord to turn everything in to His plan from there. As Mother Theresa so aptly put it, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Learning Lowly Leadership
Ananias is an underrated figure in the Bible. But I think we can all agree that, upon closer inspection, he has a lot to teach us. Without people like him all along the way, we wouldn’t be where we are now. I pray that you embrace an Ananias spirit in your ministry, and even in your daily life. You might only end up being mentioned once or twice, and you might never know who you make an impact on. That’s ok. Answer the call anyway. “Here I am, Lord.”
Gracie Muraski lives as a missionary in the beautiful Colorado mountains with her husband. She is passionate about writing, spreading the love of God, building friendships, and anything involving pasta.