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Acts 6:1-7 – Overlooking people and the Word

Once again, we are told that the disciples were increasing in number. And again, there is a God-like generosity. As God cared for the widows in the Old Testament so now the Church cares for widows by providing daily meals.

The problem that arises is that it appears that the Greek-speaking widows where being overlooked in the daily distribution. The Aramaic-speaking widows were fine. The Greek-speaking widows were Jews from the diaspora rather than the local Aramaic-speaking widows. There was a language and cultural barrier in the Church. Overlooking some people in the Church threatened to undo the “one heart and soul” of the Church.

The other danger was that the focus of the apostles might be turned from the preaching of the Word and redirected to serving tables. There is nothing wrong with serving tables but if the Church loses the preaching of the Word will thee even be a Church?

Spirit-induced wisdom results in the appointment of seven Greek-speaking men to the task of serving tables. The latter ministry is important because it needs to be led by men full of faith, wisdom, and the Spirit. The apostles then can devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. (This is the shortest and most comprehensive definition of pastoral ministry).

Notice that once the threat of neglecting the Word of God is removed … the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

In Church life we should serve tables, we must not overlook ‘Greek-speaking widows’ and we must not neglect the preaching of the Word of God. A good Church and good church members will orientate the Church and themselves to ensure these ends.