Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Acts 6:1-2

Summary retelling of Acts 6:1-2:

The early church continued to grow.  In fact, it began to grow so much that a difference arose between the followers of Christ who were non-Aramaic speaking Jews (The Hellenists, which likely means that they weren’t native to Jerusalem) and those who could speak Aramaic (The Hebrews, which means that they were likely from Jerusalem and the surrounding vicinity.  The orphans and the widows who could not speak the local language were being neglected.  The apostles get together and basically say, “Guys, there are only 24 hours in a day.  We can either spend them telling the world about Jesus or we can spend them sorting out internal disputes that the followers of God should be able to sort out for themselves.”

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Imagine this: an argument happened in the early church!  I say this tongue and check today because of course we know that as followers of God we often have disputes with the people that we should by definition have no difficulty loving.  The church is often a place for arguments because the church is filled with human beings.  We typically think about ourselves, we typically put our needs first, we typically put our desires first, and we typically get upset if we don’t think we’ve been treated fairly.  We forget that we are loved by a God who knows are needs, who knows better than we do how to distinguish between our needs and our wants, and who has already been more than fair to us regardless of what may happen in our life.  We are by definition self-mongers, and because of it arguments happen in the church.

If arguments are inevitable (and they are) how can we try to avoid them and what steps can we put in place to make sure that when they do happen we get out of them as quickly as possible with as little collateral damage as possible?

Second Thought:
The apostles are pretty blunt here.  They put forth a very clear hierarchy in the work of God: spreading the word about Jesus Christ (evangelism and discipleship) is more important than any other task.  Teaching people about Jesus Christ and the work that God has done through Him takes precedence.

So why do our churches tend to take our spiritual leaders (whether ordained or laity) and ask them to do tasks that are not related to teaching people about God?  If we have people in our midst who are skilled at talking to other people about Jesus Christ and we ask them to do something else that just about anyone could do, are we really following God’s will?

Third Thought:
I don’t want to give the impression that caring for the sick, shut-ins, widows, orphaned,  imprisoned, or anyone else isn’t important.  Please, if you think those kinds of tasks are not important, read Matthew 25:31-46!  Certainly in that passage Jesus is telling us that caring for people is of incredible importance.  However, a hungry person who rests in God’s grace is eternally secure; a well-fed person who doesn’t know Jesus Christ is only secure in this lifetime.  And of course, a well-fed person who does know Jesus Christ should be out telling other people about Jesus Christ!

How can we strike a balance between lifting up the importance for caring for the world around us and making sure that we are actually telling other people about Jesus Christ as well?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 6:3-4
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