I’ve been reading through the book of Acts. It seems that in the early church, there was a part of the community that was not getting a fair share of food to feed their widows and orphans. The apostles said, to that community “We can’t stop what we’re doing to wait on tables, so you choose some men from your community to help distribute food.”
Sometimes I get hung up on how dismissive the apostles were toward the work of distributing the food. But when I get past that, I can see so many important things going on here.
For example, the apostles were comfortable that they were working right where God wanted them. They didn’t get guilted or manipulated into veering off their ministry. Yet, when they saw a need they didn’t ignore it either; they walked a middle rode by facilitating others in getting it done.
Secondly, the went to the effected community and realized that the best support would come from within that community. The seven men who they chose would know where the needs were. They would be less open to the complaints of favortism. It seems like this was a move to tear down the walls between the groups and help those who had been overlooked feel like part of the central community.
Thirdly, one of those men goes on to greatness. Stephen was given this oppurtunity to participate. I was suggest he learned leadership and about faith in action. He was able to take this training and allow it to pay off in a huge way.
If things had ended differently, the apostles might have been distracted from thier mission. The community they were serving would have still felt like outsiders and an after thought, and Stephen would have been robbed of the chance to develop his spiritual gifts.
I know that it’s a pretty common thing, for groups want to return to the acts-era church. But even in these couple chapters, there is so much relevance for the ways we ought to be doing things.