Text: Acts 6:1-15
To give your Christian family the benefit of the doubt
To have your ministry revealed to you
ONE OF THE COMMON complaints about Christian churches is that the members do not act like they are Christians! Gossip, ill tempers, power struggles and other related behaviors mar the witness the Church might otherwise be able to give. Many church leaders over the centuries have noted that we should not be surprised at such behavior, as parishes are full of sinners like you and me!
As we read deeper into Acts, we see that even in the very beginning, even as the Jesus movement is just getting started, there is bad behavior. The previous chapter had the sordid, unhappy tale of a couple who tried to pass their hypocrisy off as virtue. In this chapter, we see that the community’s effort to care for its most vulnerable is not working as well as it might. There is grumbling and complaining, for it looks like there is favoritism at work. The very blessing of growth, of more people being added to the fellowship has become a source for tension and competition.
The apostles alight upon a very sensible solution and identify seven men to handle the ministry of care, which improves the situation. This story tells us two things: one, ministry is shared—there is no super group of Christians who can or should handle all the work of the community; and two, if there is a problem in the congregation, it may be that you are the only one who (really) sees it or has the gifts, skills and Godly calling to do something about it. If we give each other the benefit of the doubt, we can say that we are doing church as well or better than those first Christians!
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks