Read or listen to Acts 6:1-7
What do we see?
Clearly we see that the Good News of Jesus Christ is being shared among the Jews. If anyone outside of the Jews is getting the gospel it is because that person became a Jew first. The Apostles—meaning one who is sent out or sent away—have not ventured very far from their starting point.
Many are coming to believe—including Jewish Priests—but this is still a Jerusalem ministry.
And it is full time ministry. The Apostles are taking care of everything. They have surely been on fire for the Lord since the Day of Pentecost, but they may be headed for burnout in their first year.
When God calls you to lead large numbers of people, the task can seem overwhelming.
13The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Exodus 18:13-23 (NIV)
The apostles realized that they were in the same boat as Moses. They were trying to do everything, to include resolving logistical disputes.
They were waiting tables when they were called to proclaim the gospel.
They did not think that the service was beneath them. There was community—true Christian fellowship—at work here. Everyone gave and received as needed, but it was just too much to keep up with.
The apostles needed help, but not just anyone would do. There were some basic requirements.
- Men in good standing
- Full of the Spirit
- Full of wisdom
The people selected these men. They were happy to be a part of this.
The apostles could focus on spreading the good news. Those chosen to serve the people in meeting basic needs were also serving God.
The Greek word for the work they were doing is diakonia.
The church had its first deacons.
Seldom does God give us a monumental task without expecting us to pick up some help along the way.
God’s people truly want to be a part of the giving and serving and loving as much as they want the blessings.
Whenever we feel overwhelmed in doing God’s work and almost at the point where serving God feels like a burden, let’s ask once more for others to be involved.
- Those in good standing—men and women alike.
- Those full of the Holy Spirit—once we professed Christ, we have been given God’s own Spirit to walk with us. Many don’t leave home without him.
- Those full of God’s wisdom. This does not mean a professional degreed staff. God gives his wisdom generously to those who ask him for it.
Today’s world is much more complicated than that which the first century knew. But today’s Christians are equipped to live and serve and love in this world, in this time, and in this body.
As you see people who are in good standing, walking with God’s Spirit, and have been gifted with God’s wisdom, invite them to serve.
Invite them to be a part of something big.
Invite them to be God’s love in our time, in our community, and as a part of the body of Christ.
Read this passage in The Message.