Daily Office Readings for Saturday Proper 8 of Year 1
“But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:13 – 15)
Ananias is in a hard place. He feared Saul and what he has come to do in Damascus. Yet, he is in counsel with the Risen Lord who instructs him to go to Saul anyway. God has given to Saul a great gift of preaching. Saul however, has wasted his gift and his time following the ways of the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. Now Jesus is calling in what is owed to God from Saul who is unaware of his own potential.
In the “Pauling” of Saul God opened his eyes to see a different way. Saul/Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, he only met those who followed in his Way. This “Jesus” Movement was something that was troubling to the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. They had their henchman Saul to go out and do their dirty work. But he was taken away from them by Jesus himself and now the table has turned. Paul is preaching Jesus as the Savior of the world!
How many (or who) of us today possess Holy Gifts from God that we are either not using at all or (and even worse) using in the wrong way? Far too many of us do not sit down quietly and meditate on what Jesus is asking of us. Perhaps we think that Jesus doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore. Maybe some of us have already written ourselves off as unworthy to be used by God.
Let me address both of these. First of all, God in Christ Jesus has always been, is now, and always will be acting in creation. There is no “used to do” with God. God is The Unchanging change agent.
Second, to say that God can’t or won’t use you is really not about you. Such a statement is about the limitation of God – God who has no limits. I myself am living proof that God can and will use anybody to do good in the world. I failed grades in elementary school; I dropped out of high school altogether and was set on my own destructive path to my dreaded Damascus. But through various people in my life, my own experiences, with my own versions of Ananias, I was made to see the path that Jesus wanted me to follow. I am still meeting Ananias in different persons today. They come in all walks of human life, black, white, old, young, male, female, American and foreign born, heterosexual and homosexual. And I am sure that some of my Ananias’ were afraid to approach me but they followed Jesus’ instruction and here I am. I earned a bachelorette degree and two Master’s degrees and am an ordained Episcopal Priest. I am no Paul but I am trying hard to make use of my God given gifts.
Have you met any of your Ananias’ yet? I’ll bet you have. Now you just need to let the scales fall from your eyes and see what the Lord wants you to do.
And ponder anew what the Almighty is doing. John+