Seven Men Chosen to Serve

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke Greek complained against those who spoke Hebrew, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers.

“We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program,” they said. “Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.”

This idea pleased the whole group, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (a Gentile convert to the Jewish faith, who had now become a Christian). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

God’s message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Despite what the religious leaders tried to do to stop the preaching of God’s Word, it continued and the number of believers rapidly increased.  However as the number increased there were problems.  Those who spoke one language complained against those who spoke another, claiming that their widows were being discriminated against when it came to the daily supply of food.

This was the first sign of disunity in the church and the leaders quickly moved to resolve the situation before it got out of hand.  They decided that while they concentrated on preaching and teaching God’s word they would choose capable men to administer a food program.  They looked among the believers for seven men and then they prayed and laid their hands on them.  Among those chosen were Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit and a newly converted Christian.

The church leaders handled the dispute quickly and effectively.  They listened to the complaints and resolved to address the concerns.  They delegated the responsibility of providing food to the widows to men of good repute.  This showed how much importance they placed on the concerns of the believers.  Everyone was satisfied.  The apostles could carry on with their evangelism while the seven men took care of the food program.  Unity among the believers was restored.  Today, when members raise complaints church leaders are encouraged to listen and to act as quickly as is possible. 

Also, Pastors and Ministers need to be free to concentrate on preaching and teaching and that is why it is good to choose capable men and women to be in charge of other functions so that the church can run smoothly.  This is what Moses did after his father-in-law Jethro suggested it.  He realized that Moses was overwhelmed because he was dealing with everything.  He advised him to get responsible men to deal with some of the issues.  Moses was relieved of a lot of stress.  As leaders of various ministries and departments, we need to delegate more instead of trying to do everything ourselves.  Jesus could have done everything by Himself but He chose twelve men to share His ministry with.

Acts 6:1-7


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