Are you experiencing a problem or challenge in your life that your own humanity cannot resolve? Are you perhaps looking for encouragement and guidance from the pure leadership of the Holy Spirit? If so…read on.
As I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death lately, I have come to have a much deeper and greater sense of Jesus Christ and His position in my own life. I have also seen the realization of my own level of faith during trials and tests that I have been going through. I have looked in the mirror of my spirit and have seen my own faith strengths and weaknesses.
I wish to share a brief study with you this evening about what I’ve learned from a passage in Acts 6:1-7. I pray you find this to be both helpful and a blessing in time of searching for direction in your life.
A little church history and background…During the formative years of the early church as events unfolded after the ascension of Christ into heaven (Acts 1) there came a time of Holy Spirit filled boldness, testimony and growth, followed by persecution, arrests, torture and death. But faithful men and women along with the help of our Faithful God overcame these many adversities and obstacles.
I chose this particular section of Scripture to show how what appears to be a small problem can balloon into an out of control situation. Thank God for Jesus Christ, that in Him we have the victory and as he said in Psalm 23, He leads us in paths of righteousness.
In Acts 6:1a we find the Apostles in a time of peace and we see a great growth spurt in the church. But, as is usual, when there is Godly peace, evil finds a way in to distract us. Acts 6:1b shows that even in the church, there are times of division and disharmony that stop the flow of Grace.
Before Christ’s ascension into heaven He instructed His own to “wait” for the Power (Acts 1:8). This Power included many things but also included wisdom, increased faith and boldness (Acts 4:13).
In our own lives we are in such a hurry that by “not waiting” and taking things in our hands we may and probably will error and miss the blessings God intends for us. Acts 6 shows the mighty power of a prayerful life and staying focused on Him.
Let’s look now at the problem in Acts 6. The apostles and the disciples were going along at a rapid pace when discord falls in their lap in the form of the Greek widows being neglected for the distribution of food.
This may appear to be a tiny issue unless you are a widow.
The Lord God Almighty had expanded His church to the point that the apostles could not effectively perform all the duties required to manage the corporate body and because of this significant growth new job opportunities sprang up.
Widows and orphans are very important and special to the Lord. So much so that He commands in Exodus 22:22 “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan, if you do, they will cry out to me and I will surely hear them.” That is a pretty clear message from the Lord don’t you agree?
The apostles knew this and set out to resolve the problem calling on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit with prayerful hearts. Also remember that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a widow and Christ Himself provided for her by putting her under John the apostles charge at the cross.
It is interesting to note that all of the 12 apostles are Hebrew Jews, not Greeks. Also note that the Hebrew widows were not complaining but the Greek widows were. Do you see favoritism or perhaps even some prejudice here? Or perhaps the 12 remembered what had happened near the time of the crucifixion when in John 12 Greeks came to Philip and he brought them to Andrew who brought this to Christ and He then said John 12:23 “The hour is come that the Son should be glorified.”
Perhaps after thoughts passed through their minds such as John 13, the Lord washing their feet, or Mark 10:45, Jesus came to serve, or James 2:16, what profit is there in dead works?
Whatever the case, the fact is the widow problem had to be resolved.
You will notice that once this came to their attention the apostles immediately took action. They called a meeting and then established a plan. After giving instructions the apostles would continue in the Word and the multitude of brethren would search among that very multitude for men that could be assigned to do the job of tending to the Greek widows and their needs.
The apostles gave the multitude the authority to choose seven men (Acts 6:3), men of honest report (good reputation), full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. These instructions from the 12 did not include that these seven must be Greek and did not include that they must be full of faith.
Also note, these seven were not being selected for some glorious or glamorous role, but instead to minister to widows in a culture were men were served by women and not the other way around.
These chosen seven men were indeed men of faith and were willing to step out in faith to serve the Lord and His church in any capacity.
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May you be blessed and be a blessing to others…Amen!