Text: Acts 6:1-15
Crisis and conflicts are two unavoidable bitter sides of growth. Growth means expansion and increase. It fosters maturity and development. There is enlargement of organs and improvement in specialization.
The church is not left out in this basic structure of any organism or organization. As the early church continued to grow, the brethren who were dwelling together and sharing their resources together began to experience cracks in their mutual relationships due to perceived injustice in the area of their welfare. Tribalism still thrives in churches in various regions of the world, even now. This attitude is obviously not of God but borne out of the selfish nature of man. Christians still value cultural and family ties above the bond of love which united believers in Christ Jesus.
The text is an ample lesson for church and fellowship leaders. The apostles did not ignore the complaints, but they would rather not serve tables at the detriment of the main work given to them. In verses 2-4, they would rather give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
Hence, they called for separation of duty and division of labor. This also led to the discovery of a second group of helpers and mangers in church affairs who would have remained dormant in the congregation. Thus the first 7 Church deacons were selected in verse 5.
These men were not just random people but men filled with the holy spirit and faith. Most often, leaders who are appointed into the office of the deacon bring more harm to the church than good. This is because a majority are chosen based on their showmanship in the church. The case of Stephen and the other six deacons were different showing their understanding of spiritual things. They calmed the atmosphere and peace returned to the group. They were also men who ministered both the spiritual and physical needs.
Jesus set this example for the apostles. His compassion always moved him to provide physical nourishment for the hungry crowds that usually follow him. May our churches and fellowships today still remain an oasis of refreshing in the desert. May we still keep to the master’s mandate to “give them something to eat” both physically and spiritually. Amen