Categories: 1 Timothy
“Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.”
---End of Scripture verses---
Even though this passage involves the Apostles and a special “untitled” group of servants selected to address a particular issue at the church in Jerusalem, Acts 6 serves as a good model for what elders and deacons do in local churches of Jesus Christ throughout the ages. So, what was the “problem” at the congregation at Jerusalem? They were growing! That is a good problem to have! And the spiritual leaders (the Apostles) needed help to carry out the more “mundane” issues that a church can incur so that they could devote themselves completely to the more important spiritual matters (verse 4).
Notice the type of men that were selected to serve in this special capacity. They were men who had a “good reputation” (verse 3), or, you might say that they were “beyond reproach” (1 Timothy 3:10). They were “full of the spirit and of wisdom.” They were knowledgeable and experienced (tested – 1 Timothy 3:10), and were trustworthy to be put in charge of this particular situation. Even though their work was primarily of a “physical” nature, they maintained a strong spiritual presence and influence and they used good discretion when working with people.
The specific task that the seven men were selected to perform in Acts 6 was to “serve tables” (verse 2). Deacons are servants who help elders to carry out much of the work in a local church that goes unnoticed and unappreciated, but that is absolutely necessary for the wellbeing and functionality of the family of God. Church buildings need to be maintained, lights need to be changed, things need to be repaired, bills need to be paid, finances need to be handled, teaching programs need to be prepared, class rooms need to be organized, etc. Under the oversight of the elders, deacons are assigned a multitude of necessary tasks that help a congregation to function smoothly so that God can be worshiped in spirit and in truth, and His word can be taught, and His people can be served and edified.
Take the time to thank a faithful deacon!
Please read 1 Timothy 3:14-16 for tomorrow.
- Louie Taylor