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17th May 2015
We need the courage to be ourselves – to know that we have a specific part to play in the family of God and are needed. In God's eyes, we're all equal and we're all equally needed in the Church.
In Acts 6:1-7, we read about increase and growth in the Early Church, but success and advancement still brought with it challenges. The Greek-speaking Jews were upset because they felt the Hebrews were neglecting their widows when food was distributed. There was the potential here for disunity in the Church, which, if it had happened, could have spread like poison.
However, the apostles didn't shy away from this challenge. They hit it head on. There is something for us to learn here: it is possible to disagree but to leave the other person intact. We are called to be eager to maintain unity in the Church (see Ephesians 4:1-3).
We also see in this story that the apostles put in place order and structure for the flourishing of the Church. God is a God of order, not of chaos. He formed the Earth, and then He filled it. Godly structure in the Church brings life. The apostles put in place structure that released them to do what they were called to do, but also meant others and the Church could thrive.
When the apostles said they shouldn't serve tables, it's not an arrogant statement. It's just that it wasn't right for them to do it. We can all do things at times that God doesn't want us to do. This isn't an excuse for laziness; it's about whether we are playing the part that God has called us to play. Out of insecurities, we can try to please everyone all of the time. But it's impossible to keep everyone happy all of the time. It's pride that drives us to do this.
Another thing we can do is put unhelpful expectation on others. We can expect others to 'fix' us when we're going through difficult times, but that isn't anyone's role but Jesus'. A pastor called J. John said something along the lines of this: "It's not my responsibility to care for everybody, but it is my role to make sure everyone is cared for."
That's why we need form and structure, so that it all doesn't come down to one or a small number of people to care for hundreds, but also so that we can all play our part. It takes courage to let go and let others take responsibility. We need to do things that we're good at and let others do the things they are good at. We need to have confidence in others, as the apostles did in Acts 6:1-7.
This wasn't about what they were doing – serving tables or other jobs – but about the heart. The people they appointed were men of good repute, filled with the Spirit and wisdom. These were good, strong Christians. The heart attitude wasn't about whether the task was menial or important, but about whether they would do any task for an audience of One.
We are a body (1 Corinthians 12:12-26), working together, each part connected and needed. Every one of us needs to be empowered to serve wherever we find ourselves to give God glory. If you're a police officer, be the best; if you're a mum, be the best; if you're a youth worker, be the best. Whatever you are, be the best at it. We need to understand the value of our contribution to something bigger than ourselves: the Kingdom of heaven.
God has given each of us skills and abilities. How has He shaped you? What are your passions? What do you weep for? What do you sing about? These will be a hint to the specific call of God on your life. Are you stewarding God's call on your life well? Are you developing it, nurturing it, growing in it?
The place you are now is where God wants you – serve Him well there. All that's required at our end is that we follow and obey Him, with a good heart and a godly, humble confidence in what He has called us to do. Don't miss the season that you're in. Look at every opportunity as serving Jesus. He always sees what we do, even when others overlook us or don't notice.
The result of the structure the apostles put into place – the result of them doing what they were called to do and releasing others to do likewise – was expansion and increase.
Posted by Santino Hamberis