Responding to a complaint about the Hellenistic widows, the apostles have assembled the entire Jerusalem church and instructed them to select seven men to set over serving the poor. It is notable how often the word for “service” is behind this section: the daily serving (Acts 6:1), serving tables (Acts 6:2), and the serving of the word (Acts 6:4). Now these seven men are set aside to this special service: “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”(Acts 6:5). These names are all Greek, which implies that the church is choosing Hellenistic men to ensure the Hellenistic widows are no longer neglected.
Luke then explains the impact of this decision: “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 6:7). Because the disciples have come to a successful decision, the crisis is averted and the gospel continues to spread. More people are involved in the local work, the apostles have more time to focus on preaching, and the group continues to have harmony.
Christians serve. “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(Mark 10:43, 45). Apostles, elders, deacons, and preachers serve rather than being served. Churches—such as the one in Jerusalem—only function properly when men and women are willing to give rather than just take.
One thing to think about: Whom will I serve today?
One thing to pray for: Concern and compassion for others
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Fairview Park church of Christ, 11820 Fairview Road, Little Rock, AR 72212
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