“Brothers and sisters, 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…” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith… (Acts 6:3-5)
In a growing church, the need for more people to come up and take on ministry responsibilities is always great. Helps are needed; and good enough, many are willing to offer themselves. Today’s study, however, gets us to pause and ask the question: Are you qualified to help? In Acts 6, the Church in Jerusalem had greatly grown and the challenges faced were real, hence an advert to fill up positions of those who were to help by serving and waiting on tables was published in the community. It read, perhaps:
Job Vacancy- Title: Deacons
Number of Positions: Seven (7)
Reporting to: Apostles
Key Responsibility: Fair distribution of food to All Jews in Church
Would you qualify for this job? Verses 3, 5 and 8 outline what seemed to be desired minimum qualifications then; and I suppose that would not be different today. For anyone who desires to help in the congregation, the following descriptions ought to be true:
- Full of the Spirit: Not necessarily having had an ecstatic experience, but having had a daily walk under the control of the Holy Spirit for long, so that the evident fruit of the Spirit is clearly seen: that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These give a willing servant the impetus to extend their hand to needy people with an equitable ministry.
- Full of Wisdom: Wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord which is also precisely the right conduct in obedience to the will of God and not just to mastering a body of knowledge.
- Full of Faith: Stephen is described to have been a man full of faith – he believed entirely in God, who is God in the good times and the bad, even when wicked people try to kill; God is in control and has promise for a life much better and longer in the world after this.
- Full of Grace: This is another trait cast on Stephen; despite being full of Faith and the Holy Spirit, yet he was not conceited, but he was graceful and gracious – truly full of grace that befits a servant.
- Full of Power: This is not a preserve of the Apostles; deacons Stephen and Philip performed great wonders and deeds in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stephen stood firm against a hostile mob, preached to them and died boldly in their hands; it is these facts that portray him as a man full of power.
Now check if you qualify to help. Accompany your desire with a hunger for the above qualifications, and pray to God to equip you for the service to which you are called.