A tale of two Ananias’s

In the book of Acts we meet two men named Ananias.

We meet the first one in Acts 5. He was part of the early church in Jerusalem. God was moving powerfully and the church was growing. The believers were living in communion with God and fellowship with each other and radical acts of love and generosity became common among them. People sold their possessions in order to give to others who were in need. It was a beautiful scene – one birthed by the Holy Spirit and His working in the hearts of these people.

Not wanting to be left out, Ananias also sold a property, but he acted deceitfully, giving a part as though it was the whole. It is very likely that what motivated him to do this thing was a desire to be well thought of by the apostles and the rest of the church without it costing him too much. His sin would cost him his life.

In Acts 9 we meet another Ananias. He lived far from Jerusalem, in Damascus. The Lord asked a hard thing of him – to go into the presence of a man who had travelled a great distance with authority to imprison him and many people he loved. He voiced his concerns to the Lord but when the Lord answered him, he moved out in obedience. Full obedience. He didn’t just go to the window of the house Saul was staying in and shout a prayer as he ran by. He went in, put his hands on the man and prayed for him. And because of this he has a mention in the story of the greatest missionary that ever lived. This Ananias was motivated by the love of God.

Two men, same name, very different stories. The difference is that one was motivated by a desire for his own glory and the other by a desire for the glory of God. The one seeking his own honor was brought to shame. The one seeking God’s honor was himself honored.

It still works the same way.

When Jesus really has your “yes”

Acts 9:10-12 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Saul of Tarsus was known by believers as one that tracked them down and had them thrown into prison. He was a man who hated their faith and their Savior. But he was a man who was chosen by God to be a messenger of the gospel. As Saul was headed to Damascus to imprison Christians, Jesus appeared to him and the glory of that encounter blinded him. For three days he sat in blindness, not eating or drinking, realizing that he had been persecuting the Messiah that he had longed for all his life.

Jesus had followers in Damascus. They knew of Saul and his desire to exterminate them. How many would have been too fearful to go anywhere near Saul? But there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias and the Lord was so convinced of this man’s “yes” to Him that He made that appointment for Ananias before He even approached the man about it. He knew Ananias would do whatever He asked so the Lord could tell Saul the very name of the man who would come pray for him.

How deep is your yes? Does it have limits? To whatever extent you put boundaries on your yes, to that degree you limit your ability to be useful to God.

Ananias got a mention in the word of God because of his yes and he had the honor of baptizing the apostle Paul!

Don’t miss out! Let your yes to Jesus be as big as His love for you!!