When I think of immersing oneself in service as an act of worship, I think of Anna. We find Anna in Luke, chapter 2. So today, I want to talk about our sister Anna for a bit. She has a story that can strengthen the weakest of us.
What circumstances are you facing today?
We may feel like our circumstances prohibit us from immersing in service as an act of worship. We may feel like that ship has sailed. Or maybe even, we are just too old//young//single//married to be used by God in service as a public declaration that we are lovers of God who want to seek Him. I want to share with us today the testimony of this amazing woman of God.
Immersion into service is about our public declaration that we, too, are lovers of God who want to seek Him!
Anna: A Woman After God’s Own Heart
While we know very little about Anna, Scripture gives us some important details about this woman of God, so that we can strive to become more like her. That is, to learn from her example. Anna was a woman who sought after the heart of God and immersed herself in service as an act of worship. It was not a one-time event in her life, but she chose to have a daily encounter with God. She made sure her connection to God never went stagnant, because she stopped making sacrifices (and I apologize, but you have to wait for the second part of her story for more on her walk with God…)
How can you seek after the heart of God, to enjoy Him, today?
In Luke 2, we are given 3 verses about this woman. We are going to look at the first part today.
“At that very moment, an elderly woman named Anna stepped forward. Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years before her husband died and a widow to her current age of 84 years…”
She was –
- a prophetess in the temple.
- a woman from the tribe of Asher.
- a widow for many years.
- alone since her husband had passed.
- a worshiper of the Lord.
This is just a small glimpse of who Anna was. Yet, it tells so much of her story. I love the example that Anna was. She was not merely an example to those around her, but generations of men and women, alike, can look to her example as well.
Anna, whose name means grace, was a woman who could foresee what God was doing. God would grant her the advantage of knowing His plans (or some of them) a little beforehand. This is what a prophetess does. She had a spiritual gift that set her apart for His glory. And, she honored God, by utilizing the gifts she had been given. Look at where she was. She was in the temple.
How are you planting yourself in the Word of God, the Bible, so you can know His plans? #2) How are you utilizing the spiritual gifts God has planted within you, as a follower of Christ?
She is declared blessed, by her background alone. In Genesis, we learn that the tribe of Asher (her family background) is blessed above all other nations.
“May Asher be blessed above other sons; may he be esteemed by his brothers; may he bathe his feet in olive oil (Deut. 33:24).”
“Asher will become famous for rich foods, candies and sweets fit for kings (Gen. 49:20, MSG).”
So, Anna came from a well off background. Why was Asher blessed above the rest, though? Do you wonder? Does it have any implication regarding this woman that exemplifies such faith?
Based on this article and Deuteronomy 27:13-26, I think it is because they followed the word of the Lord. They tried to obey God. Yes, they failed. They made mistakes. But, their heart’s desire was to obey the Lord God – and – we see this in the life of Anna.
Though her time in the Scriptures is short, she is seen as a woman who sought out ways that she could be concrete about her love for the Lord. She was seen regularly at the temple to pray and fast, because she loved God.
How have you sought out concrete ways to live out your faith and love for our Savior Jesus Christ?
A couple chapters later, after the important message concerning blessings and curses, we can read that the tribe of Asher is declared blessed by God.
How are you choosing to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior? In the Word of God, we are reminded that those who place their trust in the Lord are blessed. One (of many) Scripture pointing this out is Psalm 40:4 –
“Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust…”
Now remember, Anna had no husband. God only granted her seven years with her husband, before he preceded her in death. As a widow, she would have been left to decide what’s next for her life. Would she have her family find another husband for her, so she may follow societal customs and bear sons? Or, would God have a different plan in mind for her?
How have your plans differed from God? How are you choosing to worship and enjoy the Lord right where He has you in life?
When Anna is seen in the temple, she was 84 years old. She had been a widow for many years. Despite her widow status, she was still busy seeking and serving God. She didn’t let her relationship status define her ministry.
Likewise, we need to allow our lives to be defined by God. It is not up to our relationship status or barrel of circumstances, to determine if we will serve the Lord our God!
Even though Anna was technically alone, she immersed herself into the will of God. She immersed herself in serving God, by going to the temple. She continued to be a faithful Jew who waited upon the promises of God to be fulfilled (see Lk. 2:38).
How is God reassuring you of His love for you? He loves you, and wants to be present in every area of your life. Romans 8 reminds us that “[i]f God is for us, who can ever be against us? (vv. 8)” He does not leave us alone. He loves us beyond words!
Take a moment and read what God says concerning His children in Deuteronomy 31:8.
There is another side of Anna. One that goes beyond her personality, family history, relationship status, age, and all other things. It is called her worship status. Even though she had circumstances beyond her control, she chose to change her worship status from those around her.
How have your circumstances tried to redefine your worship status?
Until next time,