TO CHEW ON: “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem … “ Acts 6:7
When the distraction of serving food to widows became too much for “the twelve” they called a meeting of “the multitude of the disciples” and put a new committee—a food committee— into place. Stephen was one of the men chosen for that committee (Acts 7:1-6).
As we read on we find out, however, that Stephen was also a gifted speaker—perhaps more powerful and anointed and talented than some of the original twelve (Acts 6:8-10). I suppose he could have said, “Why must I give up speaking and teaching to do this menial work? What makes your seminars more important than mine?”
Of course he didn’t say or give us any reason to believe he thought that, but served, without a ripple, along with the rest of the committee.
The result: “Then the word of God spread and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem…” Acts 6:7.
I see in this an important example for myself, indeed the contemporary church. When we put ourselves at God’s disposal to use in any way He wishes, we may not always be doing the things we think are our strengths or especially enjoy. But we do launch ourselves into the river of God’s activity—a productive and exciting place to be.
So let’s not be too proud or picky to accept even the humblest jobs we’re asked to do. God needs and uses chair stackers, pancake flippers, parking lot attendants, spreadsheet makers etc. as well as preachers, teachers, and worship leaders. It’s the full complement of all of us doing the behind-the-scenes and upfront jobs that causes the gospel to flourish.
PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to be willing to do any job You have for me. Amen.
MORE: Feast of Saint Stephen—Deacon and Martyr
Today the church celebrates that main character of our reading, Stephen. The day’s liturgy begins with this prayer:
"We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.