ACTS – The Acts of God
“Where two or three are gathered in my Name I am among them” says Jesus as recorded in Matthew 18:20. I have been known use that verse when the need for problem solving arises in God’s church. Where two or more gather, there will be some issue that will need to be addressed because of our differing opinions and personalities, needs and wants, fears and aspirations. We learn many lessons about leadership and management as we travel through Acts and see how God works through men and women to problem solve as His church grows rapidly and exponentially throughout the region.
In our next passage we see leaders who are tenaciously obeying what God through Jesus has given them the authority and gifts to accomplish. We also see that the leaders have gained wisdom in realizing they cannot and should not do it all. They must divide the work and empower people to manage the workings of God’s thriving, growing church.
With more people, (being added daily by the hundreds and thousands) there will be more needs. We can learn much by reading deeply into what is taking place in God’s church for the first time. Leaders are defined. Managers are assigned based on their witness (full of the Holy Spirit) and love of God and their known behaviors of integrity, trustworthiness and “good sense” way of living. They will be depended upon to manage the work of God’s church which will extend beyond their own families to the family of God.
The congregation decided. The congregation then brought these men to the leaders (apostles) for pray and commissioning for their specific tasks. Take note of the next sentence…”The Word of God prospered.” “The number of disciples kept increasing.” God was glorified in this act of obedience! God led His church, with Jesus as the Cornerstone, to greater thinking, higher thinking, with a solid foundation (Word of God) upon which to prosper.
Acts 6, The Message
The Word of God Prospered
1-4 During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—“Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”
5-6 The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose—
Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,
Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.
Then they presented them to the apostles. Praying, the apostles laid on hands and commissioned them for their task.
7 The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith.
Think about it…
I am reminded of father in law, Jethro coming to Moses and saying, “This work is too much for you, you must train others to help you.” Moses took his advice…
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 26 These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves. (Exodus 18).
So, this isn’t new information, but it is as much relevant today as it was centuries ago. We must train others to do what we did better than the way we did it. We should take joy in seeing them learn and grow in the work like we did. God will bless the training of others to share the work HE has invited us to do WITH Him.
Great leaders like Peter and John remember and take seriously Jesus’ departing last words as He commissioned them,
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When we, His church, are led by His Holy Spirit we are equipped by His Spirit to problem solve with wisdom, insight and understanding beyond ourselves. Some of us are leaders. Some of us are managers. Some of us are in need of both. Some of us are persistent followers who set the example for others to follow Christ with all the love that is in us. ALL are created equal in God’s eyes, we just have different tasks He has called us to do…in Jesus Name.
All of us continually learn and are continually transformed by His Spirit. We use what we know about God, not matter how much that is at the moment, to help others grow and transform, too. We GO and teach others while continually being taught ourselves. We haven’t made it yet but we’re becoming as an old chorus goes. I love how God works in us and through us, don’t you?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Whatever you invite us and assign us to do, may all be accomplished by Your Holy Spirit in us, in Jesus Name, for Your Glory!
In Jesus Name, Amen