I grew up in a church where the accepted thinking was that if you really wanted to be important in God’s kingdom (i.e. religious church circles), you had to be called to preach and either sit under a prominent pastor and/or attend seminary to get a string of letters after your name, like M.Div. However, I’m glad I serve a God who “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.
God has accomplished some wonderful things using average, ordinary folks without a high opinion of themselves who were content, faithful, and happy with fulfilling the simple things like prayer to please the Lord. One such person was Ananias in Acts 9. The Bible introduces us to him by calling him “a certain disciple.” Nothing big, nothing noteworthy by human estimates. Just “a certain disciple.” But the job he had for Ananias had huge repercussions. The Lord Jesus wanted Ananias to minister to Saul and commission him into ministry with the laying on of hands to restore Saul’s sight and to baptize him.
There are some things that are noticeable about Ananias. When the Lord gave him a vision and spoke directly to him, his relationship with the Lord was such that he knew right away what was happening and who was speaking to him (“My sheep hear my voice.”). Ananias must have really known the Lord well because they had a conversation like they were old friends. Ananias even reasoned with the Lord, expressed his doubts about what the Lord was calling him to do and respectfully questioned the Lord. He knew of Saul’s reputation of harming Christians and ran down Saul’s history to the Lord (as if the Lord didn’t already know) and seemed to have the underlying concern of “Are you sure, Lord?”
Jesus then explained the wonderful plans he had for Saul to Ananias, like close friends do. That satisfied Ananias enough that he got up and went, displaying his faith and trust in Jesus. He had so much faith in what the Lord said that he called Saul his brother when he met him on Straight Street. Because of Ananias’ faithfulness, he got to witness the beginning of something that would have a timeless ripple effect through the ages to come. I imagine that Ananias will receive the same rewards on Judgment Day that Paul will receive when one considers what Jesus said about how he hands out rewards in Matthew 10–
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Now the nobody, Ananias, is remembered in church history, proving that it can be the smallest, seemingly insignificant people who do the smallest, seemingly insignificant things that God can then use to accomplish great significant things.
Harry A. Gaylord