Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-7
“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. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.’” (Acts 6:2,3)
The church in Jerusalem was made up both of Hebrew speaking Jews (who were primarily from Palestine) and Greek speaking Jews (who were mainly from the Greco-Roman lands but had returned to Jerusalem). Because of the make up of the church, it was not unusual for them to have tension between these two groups.
As the daily allotments were made to some of the poorer members of the church (in particular, certain widows), complaints began to arise that one group was being favored at the expense of the other. Remember what was going on among these new believers — people were selling their land and possessions in order to provide for those who were in need. Some of the poorer Hellenists felt that the Hebrews were being favored over them. The problem distracted the apostles from their primary duties of prayer and of the ministry of the word.
The apostles solved the problem by establishing the office of deacon. These deacons were responsible to minister to those in the church who had physical needs. Notice that the office of deacon was born out of a practical need for a spiritual service. Deacons were primarily called to take care of the physical needs of the people by serving them in love and by providing for their needs. The apostles called the congregation together, presented the problem and laid our the qualifications for the office of deacon (v. 3). The congregation elected seven men to serve and the apostles ordained them to be the office of deacon.
Deacons are still a vital part of the ministry and leadership of the church. Deacons are called by God to be servants of God and servants of God’s people. They are uniquely gifted by God to serve others. They are to be full of the Spirit and of wisdom. In other words they are to be spiritually mature and spiritually wise as they care for God’s people. The office of deacon has been in existence for over 2000 years. It is one of the two ordained offices in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (the other being the office of elder).
Lord Jesus, I thank You for the deacons who serve our church. I pray that you grant them wisdom as they go about their ministry of service and mercy.
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