Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tuesday - Acts 6 - More Trouble

S the church grew, so did the potential for conflict. Instead of chapter 6 beginning with a long list of all the things that were going well, it commences with the one thing that was not going well.  But all things work together for good for those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose. God can even use problems to accomplish His higher plans.

We all wish for a problem-free life and ministry, but this is unrealistic. Problems come. How will we respond? In this case, the problem was real; not imagined. Some of the widows (those among the foreign-born Jews in Jerusalem) were not getting as much attention as those among the native-born Jews (vs. 1). It was evidently something of a welfare program run by the church intended to help the needy among them (Acts 4:34-35). It was great! It was done with enthusiasm and good will (not obligatorily). Yet, a conflict still arose. Even though the motive was good (and the people involved were believers), the effects of the sin curse were still present - hence, the clash (James 4:1).

So, what was the solution? Notice that the apostles did not cancel their benevolence program to end the disagreement. Instead, they instituted a new office in the church. The 12 apostles were the pastors over the church at Jerusalem at this point, and they obviously had enough responsibility in ministry (service) to keep them busy just doing their praying and preaching (Acts 6:4). So, an office was established to be filled by a different kind of minister (servant). The descendants of these ministers are now called deacons. They were assigned the noble task of handling the physical and social needs of the weaker members of the congregation, so that the pastors would not be as distracted by these matters.

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