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 upon him, so that he might receive his sight.” (Acts 9:10-12, N.K.J.V.)
In this passage, a man named Ananias is called “a certain disciple.” That title certainly fits him because, to me, he serves as one of the Bible’s best examples of discipleship. What marks him is his obedience to God.
Through a vision, God told Ananias to go to Saul of Tarsus and place his hands upon him. That was like asking a German Jew to go and offer his help to Adolph Hitler. Saul was a man who sought out Christians, persecuted them, arrested them, and even had them put to death. Seek him out and help him? Even the devout Ananias had to question those orders. In the end, though, he did as he was told. That is, after all, what a disciple does. He obeys, even when he doesn’t see the reasoning, logic, sense, or safety of the assignment.
I wonder if you and I would be as obedient as Ananias. For all he knew, he was walking into imprisonment or death. That’s discipleship on display. If discipleship is about learning (and it is), then no class is more important than the one on obedience.
I’m afraid that the obedience of too many Christians is similar to the obedience of the little boy who was admitted to a children’s hospital. His awful behavior quickly gained him a reputation as a terror, and the doctors and nurses all looked upon him with dread. One day a visiting lady, who had been informed of the boy’s rebellious streak, offered him a deal. If the boy behaved himself and obeyed orders for a week, she would give him a dime. (This was back in the days when a dime meant something.) The woman returned at the end of the week and said to him, “I’m not going to ask the nurses if you behaved. You have to tell me yourself. Do you deserve the dime?” The little fellow paused for a moment as he reflected back upon his week and then said, “Gimme a penny.”
Tell me, is there some standing order that is right now coming between you and Christ? Has He told you to do something you simply haven’t done? Are you in danger of having to settle for a penny, if even that, rather than a dime? If this is the case, then you need to learn from the story of Ananias. When he obeyed, everything worked out for him, and the same will happen with you when you confess your disobedience and repent of it. Quit laying out of the class of obedience because you don’t enjoy it. Just do what the Lord has told you to do and trust in His wisdom. Either that or forfeit the title “disciple.”