“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:3-4
The passage in Acts describes a dispute that arose in the early church between Jews of Grecian descent and those of Hebrew descent. The Grecian Jews complained that their widows were not included in the daily distribution of food. The apostles directed them to select seven men full of the Holy Spirit to take ownership of this issue as the apostles focused on prayer and the ministry of the word. Seven spirit-filled men were selected; Stephen among them, and the issue was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. By enabling the group to address this on their own, with the apostles’ blessing, the church maintained its course.
The Holy Spirit’s presence in the early church was key to its growth and success, for without the Spirit the apostles may have been tempted to lose focus by taking on this issue themselves. The apostle Paul writes, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28) A senior pastor and several pastors who each oversee a different aspect of the church’s ministry staff our church in Keller. While the senior pastor takes “center stage” each Sunday as he preaches God’s Word to us, each of the associate pastors are working behind the scenes and fulfilling critical roles. The Holy Spirit, I believe, appoints each of them, and each of them needs the prayer support of the entire church family.
Of course, not all churches are staffed with multiple pastors. Whether led by one pastor or many pastors, the Holy Spirit gifts each of us as well. God wants every believer to be engaged with His family; the church is one place at which we do that. The church is where we go for instruction, for blessing, for encouragement, and for nurture. But it is also the place where we, each in our own way, is a source of instruction, blessing, encouragement and nurture to fellow believers. Hearing God’s Word preached each week and giving and receiving instruction, blessing, encouragement and nurture equips us to go into the world and fulfill Christ’s command, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Each of us is gifted and each of us is called. Let’s go serve the Lord.
Ponder this: Am I actively participating in the ministry of a local church? Am I using the gifts God has given me to offer instruction, blessing, encouragement and nurture to my church family according to my gifts? Is there something God wants me to do?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am guilty of letting the world take center stage and thereby distract me from using my gifts in your church. Forgive me, and help me to reprioritize my time so that I may most effectively serve you and my fellow believers. I pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.