Friday of the Third Week of Easter
By Melanie Rigney
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord, has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength. (Acts 9:17-19)
Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. (Mark 16:15)
“Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” (John 6:57)
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
(John Newton, first published 1779)
There were a couple of blind men that day in Damascus: Paul, whose sight Jesus temporarily took away to illustrate his power, and Ananias, who initially protested that he didn’t want to go to Paul because of the evil he had done to Christ’s followers.
And there were a couple of men whose eyes were opened that day in Damascus: Paul, who went on to preach unceasingly and is remembered nearly two thousand years after his death, and Ananias, who doesn’t even rate his own listing in the Catholic Encyclopedia. We believe he moved on to Eleutheropolis, southwest of Jerusalem, and was martyred.
Huge differences in journeys and fame. Yet where would Paul have been without Ananias? Surely, Ananias could have said, “Forget it, God. You’re powerful, but not even You could change this man’s heart.” But he didn’t. Ananias put aside his personal feelings, said yes, and helped foster a conversion that has inspired billions.
Not all come-to-Jesus moments are as dramatic as Paul’s. Consider the case of John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace. The story goes that he was a slave trader who, while tossed about in a storm at sea, turned his life over to the Lord and wrote the hymn in thanksgiving. The truth isn’t quite that dramatic; Newton wrote the song decades after he’d left slave trading and had become a minister. And yet, as the folks at Snopes.com, the Web site that checks out urban legends and such, wrote:
It was a slow process effected over the passage of decades, not something that happened with a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. In
Ultimately, we will never know how many will be reached directly or indirectly when we go out and tell the world the Good News or whether we will be remembered for it. But we do know that if we say no and choose not to share the Word, the opportunity is lost. Let us ask for the wisdom and confidence to say yes.
Think of a situation in which your eyes were opened to a facet of God’s goodness by grace shining through another person. Write him or her a note of personal thanks today.