Unsung Heroes

This week's guest post author is Dr. Brian Autry, executive director of the SBC of Virginia.  A partnership of over 650 churches, SBC of Virginia focuses on church planting, strengthening local churches and pastors, and mobilizing churches for missions.  See more information at www.sbcv.org. Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless' blog today at www.thomrainer.com.  

This week the United States celebrates Independence Day on July 4th.  I grew up a few miles from Yorktown, the site of one of the last decisive battles of the American Revolution.  There are well known and celebrated heroes of the American Revolution.  Number one has to be George Washington.  Marquis de Lafayette comes to mind.  American history buffs may be able to name more.  But, what about Mary Ludwig Hays, Henry Knox, or John Stark?  These and countless others are unsung heroes of the American Revolution.

In the church we also have our heroes.  Hebrews 11 in the Bible is often referred to as a chapter about heroes of the faith.  Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Peter, James, and John are some well known people of the Bible.  The Apostle Paul, missionary and church planter, would undoubtedly be one of the well known heroes of our faith.

But what about the unsung heroes? 

Chapter 9 in the Book of Acts records the conversion of Saul who becomes known as Paul.  But, in that chapter you read of another – a man named Ananias.  The brief record of an episode in the life of Ananias serves to encourage all of us to be faithful in the tasks God has assigned us.

Encouragement #1.  The Lord Jesus can use the most unknown disciple to make a difference.  Ananias is only mentioned in Acts 9 and Acts 22.  Ananias is not described as a pastor, evangelist, or deacon.  He is simply described as a devout disciple.  Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Every Christian man cannot be a talented man, but every Christian should be a devout man!  Every man cannot be eloquent, but every man who loves the Lord may be devout – and in that devotion lies a main qualification for service.  He who has power with God will not fail to have power with men.”[i]

Encouragement #2.  We should never be afraid to obey God’s will.  In Acts 9:13-16, Ananias expresses his concern about the reputation of Saul; the Lord reminds him that He is at work and that we are to obey the Lord’s command to make disciples.  Acts 9:17 shows that Ananias responds in obedience to the Lord.  We can be fearful of serving the Lord, of sending our children to the mission field, or of teaching a Bible study.  Yet, we should never be afraid to obey God’s will.

Encouragement #3.  The ordinary was just as much a part of the miracle as the extraordinary.  Acts 9:17-18 records that Ananias puts his hands on Saul, calls him "Brother," tells him the Lord Jesus has sent him — and Saul regains his sight.  Saul had a supernatural encounter with the Lord Jesus, and now the Lord Jesus uses Ananias in the miracle of Saul regaining his sight.  Ananias may have been the first person Saul laid eyes on as a new Christian!  Don’t miss how transforming and powerful the every day, week in and week out ministry of making disciples is.  These ordinary meetings are just as important as the extraordinary miracles. 

Encouragement #4.  We must never underestimate the value of one person discipled for Christ.  The Book of Acts records how Peter ministered to thousands in Jerusalem. Philip saw a great harvest among the Samaritan people.  Yet, Ananias went to one man – but what a man!  The rest of the story is seen in the ministry of the Apostle Paul.  You never know how the Lord might use the boy or girl, man or woman you are reaching and teaching as you make disciples. 

Who is an unsung hero that made a difference in your life for the cause of Christ? 

How could your church celebrate unsung heroes?

[i] Charles Spurgeon, Sermon: The Good Ananias – A Lesson for Believers (April 26, 1885)





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