Include Us In
Lord God, I praise You that I am one of Your beloved children and a member of the body of Christ.
Read ACTS 6:1-7
 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  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.”  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat were the qualifications for this ministry?
In my home church about 20 language groups are represented in the congregation. It’s not unusual to have the Bible reading in Russian, sing a hymn in Spanish, and then have the prayers led in Tamil. Food crosses the language barrier—which is why we often have huge, multicultural meals together.
For Jewish Christians, the family meal was the cornerstone of society. And because some people didn’t have immediate family to look after them, the church developed an early form of social welfare. Every morning they had a house-to-house collection for the needy—and every evening there was a community meal to include those who didn’t have a family to eat with.
As the church grew, the Apostles discovered that there were people who didn’t speak the same language but were still “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (3). After all they had been through together it was remarkable that they were so ready to share leadership. It was remarkable, but vital if the church was to move forward undivided. Jesus’ choice of disciples was radically inclusive (see Matt. 10:2). We need to be the same.
How does your church practice this “radical inclusiveness”? What do you do to foster that?
Lord, give me an inclusive heart that recognizes people who are filled with the Spirit, even if they aren’t like me.
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