Lessons In The Life Of Anna
We had a very short story about our girl this week.
We were asked to read Luke 2: 25-38 but honestly our girl doesn’t come on the scene until verse 36 so we literally have a very short story.
We have two verses about Anna The Prophetess. Two verses to learn about her.
Anna comes on the scene and is mentioned when Mary comes for purification ritual sacrifice required after childbirth and also she is presenting Jesus to the Lord in the Temple.
This was required of all male children born.
We know according to Levitical law that once a mother had had a child she was “unclean”. She would need to stay home for 40 days. There was an initial 7 days of unclean but I believe the time frame was a total of 40 days.
She would then go to offer her purification sacrifice then. They had to offer a lamb for each male child born. This was called “redeeming”
This is listed in Exodus 13:13
Christ was circumcised on the 8th day and when her purification is completed they bring Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
This is where we find ourselves in their story.
A man named Simeon had been told by the Spirit that he wouldn’t see death until he say the Lords Christ. When Simeon took the child in his arms he knew exactly who He was.
Mary and Joseph are in awe of what is spoken over Jesus in that moment.
Then we see Anna comes on the scene.
We find out a few key things about Anna in these few scriptures. First of all we find out that she is a widow. She actually was married at a young age but was widowed only after 7 years of married. We find her still widowed.
The common age to be married would have been 14. We see her age given as 84 years old.
There is some speculation about how long she has been a widow. We will get into that in a bit. Either way, she has been serving the Lord a long time.
We find her worshipping, praying and fasting.
Scripture tells us that she does these things night and day. Scripture also tells us when Simeon is prophesying over the Christ Child Anna walks in. It even says “coming in that instant”. She immediately goes into thanks to God then she begins to tell others about The Christ Child.
Her story seems short. Her story is listed in 3 short verses but her footprint is large.
Let’s pause right there and let that be an encouragement to us.
Perhaps you feel your “footprint” here on earth is small. It’s not small to God. Even small footprints are noteworthy in God’s eyes.
She has lots to teach in these 3 short verses that encapsulate a life well lived for Christ. We are going to see some huge heavy hitters in the life of Anna. Simple yet profound characteristics of a godly woman are listed here.
I have some short one liners that I hope will really to help the attributes Anna holds to pop out from the scripture a little clearer.
This isn’t rocket science.
This is a simple life of a woman named Anna that full devotes herself to Christ. No bells, no whistles, just obedience, surrender and worship. Just good accountability for us.
If you are like me I can read something and really not tell you what I read or grasp it on a deeper level.
When I was growing up I had major issues with comprehension. So I totally get reading even a few verses and not having a clue what you’ve read. So let’s break it down into simple bite size pieces.
Let’s look at some simple everyday activities that made her unique. I can tell you right off the cuff. I need a little bit of Anna in my life.
-SHE IS DEVOTED-
Her life is all about her relationship with God. Scripture tells us she fasts and prays and hardly leaves the temple.
We don’t know if because of her prophetess status that she actually has living quarters on the grounds or she is just there constantly in service to the Lord.
What we do see has a life of “devoted followership” to God. This is who she is. She seems to be Christ focused and not “self” focused. What we could learn from that in this day and time is mind boggling.
-SHE IS SERIOUS ABOUT HER FAITH-
She fasts, prays and finds herself about the fathers business day and night. I don’t want us to over look this “day and night” business. Scripture lends itself to read that once her husband passes away at a very young age, we see she has given herself to ministry.
If she married at age 14 which was a common age for young women to marry, that means she’s a widow by 21. So whether she is 84 at the time this is written or she’s been a widow since 84, girl has been walking her faith out for a minute.
She is not a “one hit wonder” in her faith.
I have no doubt she has seen lots of ups and downs in the life of Israel, in her own personal family and in her spiritual walk. We know she has buried a husband. Who knows what or who else she has outlived yet she is still clinging to prayer, fasting and being about the business of the Redeemer.
Side note: what a faith she has built up. Wouldn’t you loved to have known her.
She would have been one of those “church mommas” to you. In my home church, we had about 10 other couples we ran with. My two girls called the women their “church mommas”. They walked it, talked it and loved my girls! I kind of see Anna as a church momma. Like I said she had walked with Christ for a minute. What it would have been like to sit down and have a conversation with an Anna…
Do you have an Anna in our life?
A woman who has walked with Christ for many years through the good years and the bad.
Sometimes I think Annas are hard to find. If you don’t have one I want to encourage you to become one. Annas are needed in this day and time more than probably we can even fathom.
-SHE IS A “NOBODY” IN HER SOCIETY-
Let’s just look at her status from the lens of “todays society”. Bear with me. Let me say I don’t hold to this mindset but perhaps you do and you don’t even realize it.
She’s a widow!
She is old!
Those things in our day and time “demote” the worth of a woman. I mean just the fact that she is a woman in this day and time is huge. But she’s single, she’s a widow and she old. The big trifecta surrounding a woman…yet she still knows where her worth and value comes from.
She continues to serve…….
She doesn’t count what others think of her as valuable only who she is in her relationship with God. Yet none of those things stop her. Her allegiance to Christ is all that she is focused on.
For me in this moment, Anna is preaching from the dead. She used her years devoted to prayer, fasting and ministering the gospel to the world she the world she lived in.
She is focused on the right thing even though she is a “nobody” in the eyes of society.
-SHE IS OLD-
In our day and time, often times we are skewed into believing that there is a retirement age for ministry. There is, it’s called the casket. That’s when you retire.
Anna’s focus on her relationship with Christ well into her twilight years and we don’t have a record of her stopping. Ministry is not a young folks game. I think we’ve made it that but it’s not that. We need the wisdom of those more advanced in years. Some of you are “seasoned” with years. Your walk with Christ is invaluable to those younger than you. You get to stop being used when that casket top shuts on you.
She is old yet God is still using her to minister and share with others. We know this because she goes and tells of the redemption afforded to Jerusalem right after she meets Christ. We don’t see her stopping because of age.
I just want to remind you there is no cut off age for being used of God.
Our worth is not in our age bracket
Our worth is not in our youth.
Our worth is not in whose ring is on our left hand.
Our worth is in Him.
Don’t let how you view your age
throw you into a premature spiritual casket.
Some of you ladies have done that already.
You aren’t dead yet.
Are you 84 yet? Probably not. Get back up and use your influence. This is my personal swift kick in the “behind” to get back up and serve.
-GOD USES WHO HE USES-
God uses who he uses. God spoke through numerous people in the Bible. Women definitely were less than in this day and time. Yet God choose her as a prophetess and allows her this special moment seeing the Christ Child. We don’t know if she had special knowledge like Simeon did that he would seem Him before he died. I do find the wording interesting as she comes into the room as Simeon is prophesying.
-SHE IS INFLUENTIAL-
She is influential at the old age of 84. God gives the influence. Just know that.
I think we think we are influential because of our status or our abilities. No ma’am. We are influential because God chooses to use us.
-SHE’S STILL STANDING-
She’s gone through heartache. She obviously was a young woman when her husband died. We know she was only married for 7 years. I love seeing that. What is important to see is that faith will find you faithful even after the most horrific seasons of life. What a better place to be after deep tragedy? To be found in the Lords house, fasting and praying.
The real life faith of this woman that was widowed at a very young age has lasted a life time.
-FIRST HAND RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHRIST CHILD-
Can you imagine her “heart” as she looked upon the Christ Child? As she looked at this baby, she knew who He was.
Can you imagine?
She has spent her life committed to the things of God and He gives her this special honor of seeing the Christ child just after He’s been born.
It’s just a little thing we see but it’s so huge !
First hand knowledge of who Christ is should always lead us to a life of evangelism and we see Anna engage to tell others.
That’s my next point!
-A LIFE OF EVANGELISM-
I love that as soon as she sees this child she is hot on the trail of evangelism.This encourages me that when God shines a light into areas in my own life I am to share them.
I am interested in the verbiage in Luke 2:38.
As soon as she sees the child, she gives thanks and goes into action. Scripture tells us she is looking to speak about Him to those who are looking for redemption in Israel.
She isn’t waiting around. She has seen Him and she is making a difference.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put int on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.
Shine your light ladies!
It’s so important to shine your light.
-A LIFESTYLE OF THANKFULNESS-
There are so many little things that are characteristics of a life given over to the things of God.
As soon as she sees the child, she gives thanks to the Lord. She has a lifestyle of thankfulness.
This wasn’t a “oh I have to stop and pray”.
No…. It was innate in her to stop and pray to give thanks in that moment!
I will say this, when you spend time in prayer and fasting your heart is going to be focused on the things of God. When He moves you know. He is the one that moved on your behalf.
She Is Devoted
A Serious Faith
She Is A “Nobody” In Her Society
She is Old
God Uses Who He Uses
She Is Still Standing
First Hand Knowledge
Life Of Evangelism
A Life Of Thankfulness