The Seven Helpers
1Some time later, as the number of disciples kept growing, there was a quarrel between the Greek-speaking Jews and the native Jews. The Greek-speaking Jews claimed that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of funds. 2So the twelve apostles called the whole group of believers together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the preaching of God's word in order to handle finances. 3So then, friends, choose seven men among you who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this matter. 4We ourselves, then, will give our full time to prayer and the work of preaching.”
5The whole group was pleased with the apostles' proposal, so they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a Gentile from Antioch who had earlier been converted to Judaism.
Reflection: Most of our “Grow Up” series has presented spiritual guidance for maturing in Christian faith, separately and together. A practical example of this is served up in Acts 6. Following criticism of church administration – a problem that sadly has not been resigned to the pages of history – Jesus’ 12 core disciples meet, assess the issue and instruct their fellow believers to select “seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and
wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.” This relatively modest interaction has helpful signposts for us. Not only did Christian leaders acknowledge they cannot (and should not) do everything, they identified their own gifts. This allowed them to serve well where God placed them, and opened the door to inviting other Christians to raise up additional helpers. Those helpers complemented the disciples, to forge a localised body of believers striving together in the practical and spiritual tasks of God’s purposes.
Question: Who can you encourage to use their gifts or abilities, so your localised body of believers is optimising its diverse membership?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father. Help me to pause and consider how I can complement the service of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Free people up to serve to the best of their abilities, in the variety of roles and tasks you have for us to do together. Amen.
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