13”But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:13–16)
Max Lucado, from his book On the Anvil, writes, “Ah to be your instrument O God, like Paul to the Gentiles, like Phillip to the eunuch, like Jesus to the world, to be your instrument. To be like a scalpel in the gentle hands of a surgeon, healing and mending. To be like the plow in the weathered hands of the farmer, sowing and tendng. To be like a scythe in the sweeping hands of the reaper, gathering and using. To be an instrument for noble purposes. To be honed and tuned, in sync with your will, to be sensitive to your touch. This my God is my prayer, draw me from the fire, form me on your anvil, shape me with your hands, let me be your tool.”
I have always appreciated that prayer from Pastor Lucado. It places the emphasis on serving and ministry squarely where it belongs. Believers are God’s instruments, and not the other way around. Believers are never called to use God for their own purpose and glory. God calls believers so He can use them, for His purpose and for His glory.
Such was the case with not only Ananias, but also with Saul of Tarsus. God told Ananias that Saul would be, “15…a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:15-16).
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “There was perfect continuity between Paul’s salvation and his service; God chose him to convey his grace to all people (Gal. 1:1; cf. 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11). Paul used this same word four times (Rom. 9:21, 23; 2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:21). Paul began his ministry preaching to Jews (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1, 10; 18:4; 19:8), but his primary calling was to Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; 15:16). God also called him to minister to kings such as Agrippa (Acts 25:23–26:32) and likely Caesar (cf. 25:10–12; 2 Tim. 4:16–17).”
When God calls a sinner unto salvation in Christ, He has a purpose and plan for that individual. They will become God’s servant. He will give them a mission to fulfill. What is your mission? What does God have you doing for His glory? How is God using you as His instrument for noble purposes?
Soli deo Gloria!