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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

September 2, 2013 - Spirit-Filled Waiters?

By Bob Caldwell

"Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, 'It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them" (Act 6:1-6, ESV).

There are two big points I think are overlooked when this passage is preached. Let's look at them.

First, though the tasks of these seven are rather mundane, the requirement was "good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom." No mention of the candidates' work experience or education or whether they had the standard business qualifications. Although those items would be helpful, the Early Church wanted men who had good character and were filled with the Holy Spirit!

The argument could be raised — and sometimes is in modern settings — that their spiritual qualifications were unimportant here; that the real need is for men who know how to get tasks done. More on this later.

The second point relates to the two men of the seven about whom we hear more. When he wasn't occupied "waiting tables," Stephen took it upon himself to do a little street preaching and perform miracles in the power of the Spirit. His message was so powerful that opponents of the Christian message hauled Stephen before the religious leaders. His uncompromising preaching so enraged the opposition that Stephen is known to us as the first follower of Christ to be killed for his faith.

In the persecution that followed Stephen's martyrdom, believers were scattered. Philip, now relieved of his kitchen duties, ended up in Samaria where his preaching, healing ministry, and casting out of demons brought many people to Christ. Philip then went south to convert the Ethiopian eunuch and eventually ended up in Caesarea. The next time we come upon Philip, it is approximately 25 years later and he is called "The Evangelist" and has four daughters who were prophets.

The second point illustrates the reason behind the first point. Maybe the seven could have successfully presided over the food distribution without being full of the Spirit. However, it was never intended that this was all they would ever do. Perhaps this service was a testing ground for them. Whatever the case, it seems to me these are the kinds of qualities we should look for in all church leaders and workers.

Even more importantly, these qualifications reflect how we should strive to live. No one in the body of Christ should be given a pass when it comes to good character and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Even if you don't expect (or want) to preach, you need to be of good character and full of the Holy Spirit. Whatever your tasks in life, you will do them better and will offer more significant service to God and to others when you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

— Bob Caldwell is Theologian-in-Residence at Network 211 and adjunct Professor of Theology at Global University, both in Springfield, Mo.




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