"Faced With Choosing"
Today's Reading: Acts 6:1-7 (NIV)
1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, 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 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Last evening I had the opportunity to speak with Deb on the phone for about a half hour, she was at the Coffee House on the Campus of Lindenwood University. This ministry is one that she helped begin along with several others from two churches I believe. It is a ministry she loves. Deb talked about the important work of sharing the gospel message and we all know from reading her devotions over the years, that she has the power of the Holy Spirit within her to plant the gospel in the minds and hearts of others.
If any of the readers out there know me, you know that my passion has not been focused on sharing the gospel message in the same way as Deb and this is my first attempt at writing devotional readings. My passion lies with leading, administration, teaching and organizing. It is hard for me to say ‘no’ to a task when it means taking on a project from the beginning and working with other people to see the task come to fruition. Don’t misunderstand me that sharing the gospel is not my focus, it is the most important mission, I merely approach that mission in a different way.
Deb has been enjoying walking and praying out loud and is feeling much less stressed as she has taken time to focus on healing portions of herself. The apostles were being pulled in all directions as the group began to grow and not all needed tasks were being taken care of properly. Their main focus of sharing the gospel was now being pulled like a rubber band in all directions and nerves were on fire amongst the people. Deb was also pushing herself in all directions. Both were faced with a decision to make and so they stepped back, sought others to assist and prayed and laid hands on (vs. 5 & 6).
Have you ever shared the act of ‘laying on of hands” to someone? It is a powerful experience from both the giving and receiving ends. It is an act of passing on the authority to someone, trusting and relying upon them as willing, able and qualified by the spirit’s presence in their lives.
Let us continue to pray for God to reign over Deb’s health as her plan of care unfolds before her Thursday at her appointment. Let us continue to pray for the word of God to spread and the number of disciples increase (vs. 7 revisited).