Reflection on Acts 6:1-15

Scripture

So brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.

Observation

As the church rapidly grows, there are rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking widows believe that the Hebrew- speaking widows are getting preference in the food distribution. The Twelve call a meeting of the church and say, “This should not be our responsibility. We need to teach and to pray. Select seven men who are full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom to oversee this.”

The seven are chosen, and the church continues to grow.

Then some men who are jealous of Stephen’s miracles and the wisdom with which he speaks, lie about his words and have him brought before the high council. They repeat their false testimony, but Stephen’s face is transformed as bright as an angel as he begins his defence.

Application

The food distribution program was at the heart of the church’s active care. One group of widows came to believe that they were being discriminated against, and so a potential conflict arose.

The apostles knew that their calling was to pray and teach and to steer the church as it grew like crazy. They had no time to run a food program.

They delegated this role to men with these qualifications:

  • well-respected
  • full of the Holy Spirit
  • full of wisdom

Often the church delegates the hands-on roles to the less spiritual people. If you have a heartbeat you can do the job, regardless of spiritual maturity.

The apostles saw that this was not just a food program, but a genuine ministry of reconciliation at a critical time. The Hebrew speakers and the Greek speakers could have allowed the resentment and bitterness to build up to such a peak that a church split would happen.

This was a spiritual issue because the power of the church lay in them being of “one heart and mind.”

When we think about who does what in the church, often it is not enough to call for volunteers. Sometimes we need to stop, pray and look for the people who are “full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.”

Prayer

Lord, bring wisdom to your church. May we all be men and women who are full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, so that all things are done your way and to your glory. Amen.

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