Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Criteria for handing out food - September 13th, 2011

Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:1-4

History and Context:
The book of Acts is actually just a continuation of Luke's Gospel. The author is again Luke the physician and it is again written to Theophilus. Acts covers a period of about 30 years as it begins at the ascension of Christ and ends with Paul's imprisonment. This succesfully shows the entire beginning of Christianity and the church, but it focuses on Peter and Paul. When reading one can know which parts of the journey were attended by Luke and which parts were not simply by the change in pronoun from 'they' to 'we'. The book of Acts was probably written around 63 AD.

The Text:
Here we see on of the first practical problems with the early church. There problem was simply that they were growing too fast and they couldn't keep up with their benevolence ministry. One group of people was complaining that their widows were getting missed and not getting taken care of. So the disciples decided that for them preaching the Gospel needed to be the focus but that they should appoint people to head up the giving out of food to the widows. Look at the criteria that they set out for these people. They had to be of good reputation and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.

The Challenge:
In today's church it seems that we are often so desperate for help that we take whoever is willing and simply throw them into something. We don't look at character or whether they walk in the Spirit, understand the power of God, or anythng. We have compromised the standards of leadership in order to get positions filled. Here we see that even in serving tables they had steep expectations. Even in handing out food they needed people filled with God's wisdom and power. Notice they did not say 'pick seven people who have the best organizational skills'. They said pick seven people who are "full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom". Let us in the church seek out these people for all jobs and leadership. If you do not have someone who is full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom than pray and ask God to send someone who is. If you are not full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, then pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.

The Prayer:
Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit and wisdom for your work that you have laid out for me today. Bring those people into every leadership position in the church today. Thank you Lrd! In Jesus' name, Amen!

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