The risen Jesus appeared to a Christian named Ananias and commanded him to go find Saul, now blinded by the glory he had seen on the Damascus Road. Ananias was to lay hands on Saul, so that he could regain his sight. The story is recorded in Acts chapter 9.
Ananias’ immediate response to the Lord’s approach is simple: “Here I am, Lord.” That is, “You are my Lord, and I am your servant. So tell me what you want, and I’m all in.” One gets the impression that this fully available “Here I am, Lord” was his daily attitude. It comes across as instinctive, not worked-up, not even premeditated.
When the Lord then tells Ananias what he is to do — go befriend and serve Saul, the notorious enemy of Jesus — Ananias doesn’t refuse. But understandably, he does hesitate, as if to say, “Lord, you want me to make myself vulnerable to Saul? Really? Am I hearing you right?” Yes. The Lord has big plans for Saul. So Jesus repeats his command, “Go,” and Ananias obeys.
The great thing about the story is this. Ananias was not an influential Christian leader. He was just a simple believer with a simple faith. But he was the one chosen to welcome Saul into the community of the gospel. He was the first one who ever called Saul “brother.” He was the first Christian Saul ever perceived as a friend and ally. And Saul really needed what Ananias had for him. His eyes were to be opened not only to the glory of Jesus but also to the community of Jesus. That is what Ananias did for Saul, who, as Paul, went on to serve that community like no one else.
If you are a simple Christian like Ananias, you can say to Jesus, “Here I am, Lord.” If you will live in that open availability, he may well call you to take a risk, in order to draw in a persecutor who is destined to become a missionary and church planter and theologian and martyr. Today’s radical activist might be tomorrow’s world evangelist, and you might play a role in that.
Let’s all stay open, fully available, day by day, whatever the risk. One of the great things about Jesus is, we just never know what he’s about to do.