Do you like doing jobs that take place behind the scenes or up at the front?
There was a bit of a argument among the new Christians. Some of the widows were not being looked after as there seemed to be a chaotic system that wasn’t working. So something had to be done. Rather than let it upset the ministry that was already happening, the disciples decided to choose 7 people to take on the responsibility of looking after the food.
It would have been a boring job, and one without any glory. But nevertheless, the disciples chose seven men known to be full of the Spirit and also wisdom. They were prayed for and equipped to do the work. Even something so behind the scenes and so small was a vehicle for ministry to take place – because when everyone was happy again, the word of God spread even further.
And it was one of those chosen “deacons” (servants) who was the first we hear of in the book of Acts to die rather than deny his faith. He is arrested, gives a defence which is the story of Israel and how they turned away from God, and then was stoned to death (apparently there was a translation of the Bible once that said “Stephen got stoned and died.” Unsurprisingly this was changed.) Stoning literally means people throw stones at you until you die – it was a horrible way to go. They believed that he had blasphemed against God (spoken against God) – he hadn’t, but in reality they had misunderstood God and what he was doing.
But Stephen remained faithful throughout, and remained filled with the Holy Spirit. Even in his last prayer, he prays that God will forgive those who attacked him.
Lord God, fill us with your Spirit so that we can serve you no matter what we are doing. Help us to serve and not seek our own glory, no matter how boring the job. Help us to forgive those who are horrible to us. Amen.
How can you serve someone today?