Acts 6:1-7 Video Devotional

“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, β€œIt is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:1-7)

Welcome to the world of church growth. Whenever people are faithful to the purposes and passions of God, He tends to bless their efforts. This is no exception. That blessing, however, always comes with challenges. When there are more people to take of, more people are needed to minister. The ministry had grown beyond what these 12 men could handle (remember that delegation is a good idea, going all the way back to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro) and it was time to bring in others who could handle the work.

The first thing many people notice in this passage is the seeming simplicity of the request. After all, we are talking about food distribution. It’s not exactly leading a prayer service. So why put so much care into the appointment of the leaders? Because, to the apostles, the “simple” tasks held the same level of importance as anything else. Ministry is ministry, whether you are preaching, leading prayer or handing out food.

Let this be a lesson to us all – practical ministry like dealing with widows, orphans, the poor, etc… is just as important as the sermons we preach or the bible studies we hold! In fact, James makes it clear – if we are not doing the former, the latter has no meat to it (James 2:17). I think these times we are facing now are providing plenty of evidence that taking care of our fellow humans is a solemn and vital responsibility that deserves extra attention.

At the same time, all of these ministries are important and should not be left to just anyone. This is a good principle that participation in ministry is an honor that should be rewarded to those whom live it out on their own – not just plugging people into spots because those spots “need” filled. “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If ministry (in any capacity) is done from your own strength and for your glory, it will fail.

Work as unto the Lord and enjoy your reward!

P.S. An interesting side note to this is though many people don’t see the Greeks (non-Jews) as part of the church until Paul arrives on the scene, but this passage shows that they were an important part of the church already by this point. God’s mission was always to everyone, not just the Jews (even before Paul).