Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we automatically get everything right. Even the early church – led by the apostles and seeing powerful evidence of God’s presence and favour, had its own set of very human hiccups. Here in Acts 6, we read of one such hiccup: an issue to do with the feeding of widows.
At the root of the problem, it seems to me, is one of racial tensions. The Greek-speaking believers felt that the Hebrew-speaking believers were favouring the Hebrew-speaking widows in the daily distribution of food. Was this deliberate? Probably not. Maybe this was a breakdown in communications. Or maybe the social divisions of the broader society were being reflected in the church.
In Christ, there are no divisions – we are one in Christ. But sometimes, we still act as if we were different from each other.
So the apostles put in a fix: what’s needed is some godly men to make sure that all are treated equally. The men they choose include quite a few Greek names. But more important than their language is their character. What was needed were well-respected men who were full of the Spirit and wisdom.
What are the divides in our church today? Are they real? Are they merely potential divides? Whenever such a situation arises what we need are people who are not only wise and well-respected by all – we also need people who will bring a Christian perspective to the task of reconciliation. These 7 were to be full of the Spirit. As God’s gifts to the church, these men restored the nascent divide caused by worldly attitudes – and the church continued to grow.
Father, I can’t wait for the day when I – and my brothers and sisters – are completely like your Son Jesus. I recognise time and again the same thing as in this passage: I see elements of my sinful self creeping to the surface. And I’m so sorry. Lord, it’s like a little yeast: it spreads, and your church suffers. Father, please help us to be a church that reflects your kingdom; reflects who we are in Christ. And make us – make me – more like Jesus even now. Make our characters like those of these 7: full of your Spirit and wisdom. May our resemblence to Jesus make us – make me – respected by all. Thank you that you are making me more like you.