By John Certalic, caringforothers.org
In Acts 22 the Apostle Paul recounts his conversion story, explaining how Jesus spoke to him in a dramatic moment on the road to Damascus. In this confrontation Jesus directed Paul to a man named Ananias, “a godly man, deeply devoted to the law and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus.” He soon became the first person to tell Paul about the Lord and how to respond to him.
Who was the first person to tell you about Jesus? Who is your Ananias?
For me, it was Janet’s roommate in college, who remains our dear friend to this day. Carol was a new believer on the day she told me – an April afternoon in 1968. She went through a small mustard-colored booklet with me entitled Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? I had not heard of them. The Ten Commandments, sure. I wondered if maybe these four spiritual laws were the abridged or CliffsNotes version.
One thing led to another and that night both Janet and I committed our lives to Jesus. He chose our nervous college friend to be the first person to ever tell us about himself. Carol is to Janet and me what Ananias is to Paul. The past several years I've called Carol every April 4th to thank her for her courage and obedience in telling me about Jesus for the first time. It still moves me to think where I’d be today if she had not. This past April 4th marked the 50th anniversary of that life-changing conversation. Within hours of becoming Christ-followers that day, we learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. We found life the same day he found death. The coincidence still chills me.
When I think of what Carol did for me, it reminds me I can do the same for others. I can be their Ananias. Last December a former student of mine from the ’70’s found me on Facebook and we reconnected after all these years. Her husband then began sending contributions to our Caring for Others ministry, prompting Janet and me to ask if we could meet. They invited us to their home, where at the end of the evening her husband told me, “We want to help you because you were the first person to tell my wife about Jesus when she was your student.”
He was thanking me, similar to how I thank Carol every April 4th. Imagine what it would be like if we were all an Ananias to someone. And imagine the blessing we’d experience if we all thanked the Ananias in our life. Even if he was one of our parents.