“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables…choose seven from among you ….. we will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.””
Acts 6:2-4 (NIV)
Today’s devotion highlights key advice for our churches but also in our own lives. We are a body and each part has it’s own use, it’s own purpose and it’s own gift. Each person cannot do everything all the time. It is clear that the apostles gift was in preaching, teaching and in the apostolic ministry. Yet here in verse 2 they are found to be waiting on tables, serving people their daily needs and getting involved in petty squabbles.
The apostles knew that in order for the church to grow they needed to dis-attach themselves with this ministry and focus on the “ministry of the word of God.” That is not to say that it was a lesser ministry to wait on tables but rather they knew their strengths and they knew that they were not being best used in them, if their time was devoted elsewhere. In an act of complete wisdom they appointed seven other Spirit and wisdom filled believers and commissioned in the ministry of hospitality. Because of this “God’s message continued to spread”…and the “number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted too.” (verse 7)
Know that God has given us all a specific gift for the extension of His Kingdom, whether directly or indirectly. He didn’t give everyone every gift otherwise the church would be in chaos and never move forward. Let us learn from this example, that we all can be used, whether in sweeping the floors of the church, doing a neighbours gardening, serving teas and coffee after a Sunday service or working in the slums in India. We all have a part to play in extending the body of Christ. It is only when we release people in the ministry that God has for them, that we truly see the church explode in growth and lives being transformed by the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.