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August 12, 2013

How God makes heroes out of the ordinary

by Dave Malnes

My heroes are the ones most people overlook.

Tucked in the crevasses of history, they can be difficult to find against the bright lights of heroes for which songs are written and paintings immortalized.

A fireman was once asked what it takes to be courageous. He thought it over and said “Being courageous is doing what your are supposed to do, carrying out what you are trained to do, then something takes over.”

Heroes are common people who do uncommon things. They face fear and do it anyway. Then, “something takes over” and be someone outside of themselves. They carry out tasks they could never have imagined.

When you read through the Bible, heroes jump off the pages. Normal people whom God tasks and when they take that first step of faith “something takes over.” Something unseen from within becomes seen throughout. The frightened and scattered disciples become pillars of faith. The most unlikely little boy becomes a slayer of a giant.

superboy

And then there’s Ananias.

I’m sure if you would have asked Ananias if he were a hero, he would scoff at the remark. At his home, perhaps late at night, we can picture him sitting by the fireplace fixing a child’s chair that broke a few days ago. Suddenly, the Lord appears in a vision. By faith, Ananias acknowledges his presence and replies, “Yes, Lord!”

“I want you to do something for me,” the Lord answers. “Go to Judas’ house on Straight street. There you will find a man from Tarsus who goes by the name of Saul. I want you to go there and restore his sight. Don’t be afraid. He’s waiting for you.”

“Saul?” “From Tarsus!” “You’ve got to be kidding, Lord,” Ananias replied. He couldn’t believe the task that was given him. “Don’t you know who he is? “Haven’t you heard what he’s been doing to your people?”

“Go anyway,” the Lord answered. “He is my chosen instrument who will be given a great task. He is the one who will carry my name to the Gentiles, but to prepare him for this great task he must suffer greatly.”

And Ananias became my favorite hero. Despite great fear and great reasons to stay home, Ananias went anyway because the Lord told him to.

As a result, Saul became Paul and was the greatest missionary the world has ever known. And what became of Ananias? We don’t know. But his name is recorded in the crevasses of New Testament history as a testimony that God makes vessels of choice to do great things.

A chosen instrument. What a beautiful description! Observing a musical instrument sitting on a bench, you know that it can’t make beautiful music on it’s own. It must be used by something outside of itself.

In the same way, any person can be an chosen instrument by God. Used by the power of the Holy Spirit, the fearful become courageous, the timid become powerful, and the weak become strong.

God’s ambassadors are good examples of chosen instruments. By stepping out in faith and delivering an important message of eternal life and salvation, they are filled with the Holy Spirit to proclaim this good news. They become something outside of themselves.

Our world today needs more heroes. Just normal people who exercise their faith and spread the seeds of God’s Word.

Dialogue paraphrased from Acts 9:10-16

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