Ranking Our Priorities
Lord, may my attention remain focused on prayer and Your Word.
Read ACTS 6:1–7
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 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. 3 Brothers and sisters, 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 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5 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. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 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.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhich activities in your church do you participate in? Why are you involved in these?
The early church is growing in numbers (1) and the apostles no longer have time to wholly sustain its community life. The climax comes over the church’s care of its widows who had no means of supporting themselves. The Hellenists and Hebrews (1) were two groups of Jewish Christians from different ethnic backgrounds. The Hellenists spoke Greek while the Hebrews spoke Aramaic (a language similar to Hebrew).
The apostles’ division of responsibilities between themselves and the seven chosen men shows the beginning of structure in the church. Notice that prayer and teaching about Christ (4) remain the priorities of the apostles and the church. Yet maintaining the internal life of the church is not merely a matter of practical skills. The seven are chosen based on their character and sensitivity to the Spirit (3), not because they are good accountants. Their key role is to nurture church life.
A similar division of responsibility continues in most churches, but sometimes the priorities get turned around. It is easy to allow fixing the church roof or organizing the choir to take precedence over the primary work of the church: spending time with God and helping others to know Jesus.
Ask God how your conduct in the church activities you are involved in may contribute to the building up of your church.
Father, give me wisdom to know when to serve and when to focus on developing my personal relationship with You.
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