Bringing a blessing from a problem

Acts 6:1-7

1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

There are so many good spiritual principles here in this story that at first glance could just be about grumbling in the ranks. There were clearly problems surfacing as number of believers swelled and something had to shift. The 12 disciples chose to deal with this by releasing new people into ministry (choosing the 7), focussing on what they were originally called to, and choosing not to micromanage a problem. The disciples were able to do this because they knew the calling God had placed on them, understood they could trust God to guide them and were prepared not to be distracted by surfacing issues. The results speak for themselves in verse 7. The challenge for all of us is to not get distracted from our purpose, but this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care if there are issues within the church. The 12 did not delay or ignore the problem, but they understood the solution was not micro-management. They trusted God to work through the godly believers chosen to start a new ministry. We need to be prepared to embrace new ideas and solutions, and allow people to be released into new things. This passage also reminds me that even when doing God’s work problems can arise, but that doesn’t mean God wasn’t in the situation. He used the problem to position others for blessing, and in this case the restructure was a blessing for everyone.

Heavenly Father, help me to stay faithful to the call you have placed on my life. Help me to not become discouraged when things do not go as planned and give me the wisdom to find your solutions when problems arise. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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