A few days ago I came across a tweet that read: “I just realized I am no longer a male between 18-25. I’m done guys. It’s over. I am no longer relevant.”
What was originally a hysterical tweet, sunk in real quick – I’m turning 25 in a couple weeks…I won’t be relevant…” And a wave of misery and anxiety hit me. I felt insignificant, small, unfulfilled, and irrelevant. In short, I wasn’t feeling too awesome.
Being an idealistic 20-year-old, you think you’re going to change the world in an awesome and charismatic way. You believe you are invincible and able to accomplish anything and everything. We are raised that way. From parents, to teachers, to coaches, to pastors, if they are any good, that’s what they told you growing up: “You can do anything you want to.” So what entitled 20 something doesn’t think they are going to change the world?
I had to take a minute to stop and think.
How do I change the world?
How do I make an impact now?
How do I stay relevant?
Now after I threw myself into an interrogation, I realized how self-centered I really am. Projecting your own dreams and aspirations only objectifies the people around you. They become a means to you pursuing awesomeness. Jesus never called us to be awesome; instead, He called us to be authentic. Authenticity seeks the good of the Body, through active obedience in Christ.
This made me discover an entirely different question:
Instead of obsessing about changing the world, what if we just gave ourselves to living in obedience to Jesus in an ordinary life?
When I think of men and women of the Bible who changed the world by just living an ordinary life, only one person comes to mind: Ananias. And no, not the Ananias that God strikes down dead with his wife. There’s nothing ordinary about that. But the Ananias we find in Acts 9, when he heals Saul. Here are four ways we can learn from this moment of active obedience.
When we are first introduced to Ananias, he is described in one way: a disciple. There wasn’t an introduction of “Ananias! His ministry is just blowing up! Best-selling author Ananias! Best conference speaker Ananias! Trendsetting Ananias!” His introduction was as simple as his life – church going, personally devoted, gospel serving, disciple Ananias. He wasn’t the know it all, but looked over “irrelevant” disciple Ananias. In Acts 22, Paul says of Ananias, “a devout man according to the law, well-spoken of by all the Jews who lived there.” Ananias was reputable for his devotion to Christ and advancing the Gospel.
What might be my favorite part in this narrative is when Ananias refutes and attempt to correct God. This is so human and relatable, “God, I’m not sure you know who you’re talking about. This guy kills people like me for fun.” (This is paraphrased, of course). You can’t tell me the Bible isn’t filled with people just like us, if this thing was rigged – Ananias would throw on his cape and fly down Straight Street. You don’t have to be awesome to be authentic.
What must have started as a seemingly ordinary day, Ananias almost talked himself out of playing his part in God’s story. This is seemed like a mundane task,
“Go back and talk to the barista”
“Give that person a call today”
“Take that student to get a drink at Sonic”
All that matters is that you obey. The task may often seem ordinary, lame, or mundane. God may not ask you to change the world, but your obedience can change someone’s life. Every part of you may be fighting against that act because you don’t have the time or you’ll do it next time. If you can’t combat the fight of your flesh, you aren’t ready to be used by God.
C.H. Spurgeon said, “As followers of Christ, carve your name on hearts and not on marble.” Ananias’ obedience wasn’t fueled by making a name for himself. His motivation was based out his devoted, authentic, obedient relationship to Jesus. After Acts 9, we never hear of Ananias again. This was his assignment. When the result of his obedience, ended up turning the world upside down he didn’t seek the glory for himself. He went back to living his life. God never called him to sell the movie rights, or sign a book deal, or start speaking on the conference circuit. In order to truly make an impact in this world, it has to be through carving your name on hearts not on marble.