Seven Leaders for the Church
1A lot of people were now becoming followers of the Lord. But some of the ones who spoke Greek started complaining about the ones who spoke Aramaic. They complained that the Greek-speaking widows were not given their share when the food supplies were handed out each day.
2The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, “We should not give up preaching God's message in order to serve at tables. 3My friends, choose seven men who are respected and wise and filled with God's Spirit. We will put them in charge of these things. 4We can spend our time praying and serving God by preaching.”
5This suggestion pleased everyone, and they began by choosing Stephen. He had great faith and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and also Nicolaus, who worshiped with the Jewish people in Antioch. 6These men were brought to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on the men to show they had been chosen to do this work. 7God's message spread, and many more people in Jerusalem became followers. Even a large number of priests put their faith in the Lord.
When the church grows, it always faces new challenges. Growth requires change. The apostles could no longer manage the care for widows, as well as prayer and proclamation. We see the Spirit leading the church to find good resolution together. The apostles as spiritual leaders define the issue and propose a solution. The believers accept the recommendation and discern the individuals whom they believe are gifted for this ministry of care. The apostles appoint these people. This interplay defines diverse roles but unified work.
The seven people selected also were quite diverse, but all were gifted, respected and wise because they were led by the Spirit. Each of these individuals have Greek names and presumably then all were part of the Greek-speaking Christian community in Jerusalem. The church did not choose some from the Greek-speaking group and some from the Aramaic-speaking group. This suggests a remarkable sense of mutual trust.
The solution to this problem results in many more people following Jesus, including priests. When God’s people display their mutual love and oneness in Christ in practical ways, the gospel finds its clearest expression.
As a Jesus follower you are a unique gift to the church. The Holy Spirit enables you to appreciate the contribution of others to the health of the body. Working together as the Messiah’s community we demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus.
Dear Father God, Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit and making me one of your family. Help me today to learn new ways to love my “brothers and sisters.” Enable me to appreciate the rich diversity you create in your “body,” the church. May I understand the importance of unity, but not uniformity. Amen.