You wouldn’t trust him in your neighborhood, much less your house. Why, then, did Ananias receive someone like Saul into his home? Saul, by his own admission, “wasted” the Church. He used every ounce of energy to destroy the entity Jesus Christ had come to establish. He casually looked on as the religious leaders stoned to death Stephen, one of the deacons in the Church. Saul had taken many of the believers in Jerusalem captive and sent them to await trial. He wasn’t exactly what you would consider a “nice guy.”

When God told Ananias to bring Saul into his house, these were the first things which came to Ananias’ mind. God addressed Ananias’ reservations by giving him a glimpse of the great plans He had for Saul. Ananias obeyed God’s instructions, heartily welcoming Saul as a brother in Christ. Saul later became one of the greatest Christians ever: the Apostle Paul.

God sometimes calls us to invite people into our lives, but we are reluctant because of negative things others have told us about these people. We tend to see the crude exterior, the lump of coal which needs refining. We see their problems and not their potential, but God sees the heart. If we will let Him, He will change our perspective so we are able to see beyond the surface as well. God may be using us at this particular time to prepare the way for another person’s spiritual success.

Think of three people in whose lives you can invest. They could be young adults getting ready for college and the future. They may be new converts who have just started attending your church. It could be a new family which recently moved into your neighborhood or someone in your church’s addiction recovery program. What these people need more than anything else is affirmation, not suspicion or condemnation. If you will make an honest effort to see them as God does, then you may have the opportunity to see God transform them into profitable servants in His kingdom.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.