Focal Passage: Acts 6:1-10
When we think about growing pains in the local church, we usually focus on the need for more parking, classrooms or worship space.
While these physical needs may be the direct result of spiritual growth, they are outranked by the need to minister personally to new believers.
In Acts 6 the growing church had to address its failure to feed the Greek speaking Jewish widows.
To keep the apostles from neglecting the Word of God, the church chose seven men to address a practical need that threatened to cause spiritual division in the church.
Certain church activities have the potential to increase a believer’s pride, but serving behind the scenes rarely does.
These men set the example of what deacons ought to be – servants of the church. Far from power wielding spectators, these men put shoe leather to the gospel and humbly served their aged sisters in Christ.
The pastor who baptized me used to say, “Much can be accomplished for God if it matters little who gets the credit.” In other words, spiritual fruit grows from the lives of believers who are selfless instead of selfish. Praising men is one of the many worldly ideas that have been transplanted into the church. When we move beyond encouragement to make the ministry about trophies, we tempt church leaders to serve for the praise of men instead of the glory of God. If we serve to the glory of God, He will give us heavenly rewards that far exceed worldly commendations.
Stephen was described as “a man full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (6:5). Because he walked by the Spirit and not by the flesh, he neither sought the praise of men nor recoiled in fear of men. When we desire the praise of men, we will shrink back in fear either of allies who may overshadow us or enemies that could stop us.
When we serve Jesus selflessly, we stop worrying about our pride and the fears fed by it, and get on with His Great Commission.