Thursday, September 10, 2009

Acts, Chapter 6 revisited

Advancing the cause of God does not always have to be converting thousands at a time in a mass service. You can advance the cause of God in small ways as well, and we see that exhibited here in chapter 6 of acts. As the early church grew, it needed others to do some of the busy work that comes with being part of a large organization. The disciples, though gifted from God, could not handle every single task. That is why we see seven other believers here appointed as decision makers. Here, they serve in a role of distributors, deciding where goods and services controlled by the church needed to go. This is not the glorious role of winning converts, but it is still incredibly important because it was a job within in the church that needed to be done.

In the second part of this chapter we see Stephen, perhaps one of the most gentle apostles, get arrested for spreading the gospel. This would eventually lead to his martyrdom by stoning, but the way he handled this terrible accusations is a great example for us to follow.

8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. – Acts 6:8-10

Once again, this comes down to jealousy. Stephen was speaking and acting with the full power of God behind him. Unfortunately, the Sanhedrin did not like this because it would result in a loss of their earthly power. It was their greed that led to his arrest, even though he was doing the work of God.

This raises the question: Do you have what it takes to do the work of God even in the face of oppression? Stephen’s work cost him his life, as we will see in the next chapter. He faced his death with a smile that could have only come from God’s direct strength and intervention. I admit that now, at a time where it is hard to smile about anything, that it would be difficult to follow in Stephen’s footsteps.

No comments: