What a difference one man can make in the life of another! Who is not familiar with the Apostle Paul? God used Paul to make a difference throughout the world, but do you know of the man who made a difference in Paul’s life? While giving his testimony before a mob of people who had attempted to kill him, Paul highlights a man by the name of Ananias. Ananias’ only work we know of is his ministry to Paul at a critical time in the apostle’s life. One man affected the world by being willing to help one person.
I have heard many express their desire to minister to great multitudes. This is a noble desire, but most of us will not have the privilege to speak to great multitudes. However, if we are prepared and willing, God will use each of us to influence another for the good of humanity and the glory of God. What do we know about this man whose only known ministry was help to a new convert by the name of Saul of Tarsus?
Ananias was a disciple of Jesus Christ. He had heard about Jesus and had committed his life to Christ. As a disciple, Ananias followed the call of Jesus just as other disciples had when they heard the call, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Fishing for men is a lifelong occupation.
Ananias was a disciple of Jesus who was sensitive to the leadership of the Lord. He was accustomed to spending time in devotion to the Lord. During one of those times he saw a vision and heard the Lord say to him, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth” (Acts 9:11).
At first mention of Saul of Tarsus, Ananias was understandably reluctant. He said, “…Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). I think we can all sympathize with his reluctance. Ananias was one of the disciples that Saul would have arrested and taken back to Jerusalem.
But this reluctance did not stop Ananias from following God. Even while facing the threat of imprisonment, Ananias obediently went to Saul. He demonstrated courage and practiced Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Obedient disciples will make a difference in the lives of others.
When Ananias first met Saul, he greeted the new convert with kindness, grace, and trust. Ananias called him “Brother Saul” (Acts 9:17). He was telling Saul that regardless of what he had done before, now that he had been born again, he was a member of the family of God and a brother of all other believers.
Every disciple of the Lord reading this article can think of someone that God used to influence him. Let us stop and give thanks to God for that person. Let us also pray and ask God to help us be the kind of disciple that He can use to be a blessing to others.
I shall never forget meeting a missionary at summer camp just a few months after I was saved. His name was Jerome Williams, a missionary to Africa for over forty years. He gave me a book and encouraged me to serve the Lord with my life. I have never met or heard of him since that time, but I shall never forget his kind spirit and his personal interest in me. Thank God for obedient, loving, courageous, and sensitive disciples. We can all be that kind of a disciple and make a difference in one person.