Scripture Focus: Acts 6.1-7
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So 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. Brothers and sisters, 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 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’ This 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. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
Reflection: The Overflowing Plate
By Christian Englert
Regardless of vocation, a busy person will face temptation to add more to a full plate that cannot hold any more food. We see things that look luscious, healthy, and fulfilling. Taking on one more task in the kingdom of God might seem like a no-brainer. But we all have a limited capacity, and we need to be humble enough and wise enough to delegate to faithful people those things that we can’t fit on our plates.
In the passage for today, the apostles felt the pressure of neglecting one task for another. If they focused on attending the tables, their teaching would suffer. So, they wisely sought people that could help with waiting on tables. They did not just seek out any group of people though.
Rather, the apostles intended for a specific group of servers to be chosen. They were to be wise and “full of the Spirit.” That phrase is significant because Scripture states that the fruit of Spirit is “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5.22-23) Those who are in Christ carry this Spirit and its fruits in them. Therefore, by choosing those “filled with the Spirit,” the apostles ensured those being served would experience these fruits and the nature of God.
When food continues to be piled on a full plate, eventually the plate will overflow. The same is true with schedules. They can become overbooked; resulting in overlooked tasks and compromised health. Even the most important thing we have to do in a week might be at risk of being done poorly, because the time required to complete it has been taken away.
When tempted to add to an already full plate, know that it is wise to ask for help. However, make sure you pay great attention to the person you choose to provide assistance. Are they someone who has the ability to complete the task at hand? Are they someone that is known to be reliable? This can be a difficult tension to manage but God will guide us in the process. Ask God for direction and watch for him to place the correct people in your path.
Remember that all things are to be done as though you are serving God, even when it takes a village to complete them.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless the Lord, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding, and hearken to the voice of his word.
Bless the Lord, all you his hosts, you ministers of his who do his will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion. — Psalm 103.20-22
Read more about Faith Requires Humility
One reason faith is so difficult for today’s culture is that we devalue humility. And faith cannot exist without humility