Seven Special Servants
Acts 6:1–7; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 87–96
When we organize our gifts, we serve God better.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 5).
What would you think if you came home today and there was no food for dinner? How would you feel if you saw your food being given to someone else? This sometimes happened in the early church. Some people had no food, while others had plenty to eat.
The young church kept growing and growing. The apostles kept busy! All day, every day, they taught the Word of God to people who were eager to hear it. But one day an ugly problem arose.
The Greek-speaking believers began to complain. They thought that the Hebrew-speaking believers were not sharing the daily food equally. They believed the Greek widows were not getting their fair share. Today we call this problem discrimination. Discrimination means that we treat others poorly because they are different from us in some way. They may look different, or speak a different language. They may dress differently, or eat different foods. The Greek believers felt the Hebrew Jews were discriminating against them.
The apostles knew they could not handle every problem in the new church. And they were wise enough to know they shouldn’t even try. So they called the people together to talk about it. “Look among yourselves for seven men,” they said. “Choose men who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of distributing food.” The people looked at each other and agreed. So they chose seven good men. Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus became the first deacons. The apostles prayed and laid their hands on them to set them apart for this special service. Then the apostles were free to continue the work God had for them to do.
God has given each one of His children a special gift to use in serving Him. Some have the gift of teaching God’s Word. These are the teachers we enjoy listening to and learning from. Some have the gift of caring for others. These are the people who are always glad to help out. They wash the dishes after church dinners. They help their neighbors with car problems. They provide food and clothing to people in need.
Another of God’s special gifts is the ability to figure out how to do things the best way. Do you know anyone who has this gift of organization? Another of God’s special gifts is the ability to understand and help people who are in trouble. All of us can show others the love of Jesus and love them the same way He does.
The apostles kept doing their special work of teaching God’s Word. And the young church grew and grew. When believers use their gifts to serve God today, the church keeps growing! Every believer, including you and me, has a special gift and a special work to do for the Lord.