When any group grows in number, most humans automatically begin to organize in ways to work smarter, not harder. Our perfect God who created orderly systems in His perfectly working universe in highly intelligent, beyond our thinking, ways put this need to organize in our DNA. It happens in every group I’ve been a part of or observed. It happens in the animal world, too. A leader emerges. The group figures out quickly who is good at what task and then the work is divided and assigned. Remember those study groups in college? Good ones organized in this manner. Groups floundered if they did not organize. The unorganized, individualistic thinking group’s presentation to the class immediately showed their lack of skill in working together. Individuals worked harder, groups work smarter.
I’ve seen this phenomenon demonstrated over the years as I observed large families successfully operate. I am amazed at their tenacity and regimen. I didn’t come from a large family so it was fun to watch every person do their task without thinking. Parents instinctively knew that to survive, they must assign. Older siblings take care of the younger siblings. Younger siblings have their tasks to do until they grow and mature to take on more complex tasks. But for sure, everyone has their place, their work to do, in the family. Leaders were built with servant attitudes in believing families. It is a great study in family relationships to watch and learn.
The early church became a large family, outgrowing their primary ways of doing life. Something had to be done in order for life to grow and mature in helping others know and follow Jesus. If a few leaders do all the work, how will others God is calling be given a chance to grow into leadership? God is indeed leading the thousands who have given their all to Him, believing in His Son, Jesus Christ who died for their sins and rose again with the promise of life eternal. The acts of God are amazing!
God acts in the lives of those He has ordained. God gives the new life believers the gift of organization. His Holy Spirit teaches them how to work smarter, wiser, not harder while raising up leaders who will teach other leaders.
Sound familiar? Paul speaks of this to Timothy, his young protégé in 2 Timothy 2:2. Read it to get a clear understanding of what God is building into the lives of His church body with Jesus as the foundation and the Head of it all. Paul writes, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” Read the entire chapter and we understand what is going on in today’s passage as God acts through His disciples.
ACTS—God’s Acts through His Disciples
Acts 6:1-7, 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.
Even the priests who had forgotten about you and joined in the crucifixion, came to real faith in You! You are God and we are not. Your acts are amazing! We pray and You always act in ways that are best for us. You know what we need before we know we need it. You love us beyond our human way of thinking. Help us to love like you love us—unconditionally, forgiving, full of mercy and grace. Thank you for your gift of organizing so that we grow from the inside out and outside in. Grow and mature as individuals and as your Body.
In Jesus Name, Amen