The church’s first whiners

Acts 6:1-4  In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.  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. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

whinerHere we have it folks: the church’s first whiners. Imagine the situation for a moment.  For years and years families were charged with the honor of taking care of their own relatives.  If there was an orphan, an uncle should step in.  If there was a widow, a niece, a grandson, or a daughter should step in.  It’s just how it was and how it ought to be.  Then came the emergence of the early church.  They started taking care of people who couldn’t take care of themselves.  They took food to widows who needed help.  Then some Greek Jews started complaining.  Isn’t that how it works?  You start doing something good and people want to tell you what’s wrong with the good you are doing.  “Hey, our widows that we are supposed to be taking care of are being left out of your charity program.  No fair!”  (Stomp foot, pout, and threaten to leave the church.)

You know what I love about this story – it’s the response of the leadership in the church.  Now at first glance it seems like maybe servanthood was beneath them.  Maybe they felt too spiritual to hand out food.  It looks like they were too important for such remedial tasks.  No!  That’s not that case at all.  In fact, as you look at their response, you will see that they genuinely cared about the Grecian widows too.  They would love to serve them.  In fact, they would love to do it themselves.  But that wasn’t their calling.  Their calling was to prayer and to preaching the Word.  It had nothing to do with whether or not they were above this work; it had everything to do with staying true to their calling.

I wonder if we have as much success staying true to our calling.  It seems that, like the Grecian Jews, we have people in our lives who want to tell us what we need to do.  They’ve got it all figured out and have no problem telling us how to walk out what God has called us to…  which would be all fine and dandy if they weren’t wrong.  You see, we so easily succumb to things other than God’s plan for our lives.  It might be social pressure or even a well intentioned friend.   It could be bad advice given with good intentions.  So we have to respond like the 12 Apostles did – know what our calling is and stay true to it.  Don’t get distracted by good things that aren’t God things.  Don’t get sidetracked by persistent needs that God hasn’t called you to fix.  Stay true to your calling and let God take care of the rest.

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