Day 5 Read: Acts 6:1-7
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.3 Therefore, brothers,[b] pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Reflect: What was the issue in this passage? Why were servant leaders needed? Why did the apostles need other people in the church to step up and serve?
Consider: The key idea seems to be that ministry is ministry whether it consists of teaching God’s Word or taking care of widows. We tend to look at a passage like this and make distinctions of importance between taking care of widows and teaching God’s truth. Luke does not seem to make such distinction, nor does it appear that was what the Twelve intended. Yes, teaching and prayer claimed priority, but not all disciples were involved in that. God calls different people to different kinds of ministries, and the key lies not in spelling out some level of importance, but being faithful to the call.5
Respond: Are there any groups in danger of going unnoticed in our church? Why? What would be some effective ways to serve these people? What is the result of preaching the gospel without meeting physical or emotional needs? On the other hand, what is the result of meeting needs without the clear preaching of the gospel? According to Acts 6:7, what was the result of this focus on service, and what change did it bring to the church’s ministry?
5 Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, vol. 5, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 91.