Some of the widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
The apostles were concerned and decided to divide the labor of ministry. It’s like when a human is formed from two cells, the egg and sperm. They quickly begin to multiply and as they do they cluster into groups. Theses groups begin to develop into the various organs and tissues that will make up this little person. No group is more important than any other because they are after all just specialized copies of the original two cells.
The church, this living organism is a multifaceted organization with millions of people. We all, all Christians, have a part play in the function, health and growth of the church, which is also called the body of Christ.
Stephan was chosen not to preach and teach, he was selected to serve the widows in their needs. “3 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 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
And yet he served. And the church continued to grow.
“7 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.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
My body has a lot of different parts and pieces. I need them all to work, to work well, to work hard, to work at their jobs even when I don’t recognize or am aware of what they are doing. It’s a team effort and all victories and defeats affect my entire body. Every part of me is working together to feed, encourage, bless, protect, aid, and serve every other part. When a part is sick or hurting all parts suffer.
We are like that. Us Christians. We all part of one body. One body of Christ. We need to work together. We need to be connected to each other. We need to aid and support each other. One body, one goal: witness to the miraculous work that Jesus is doing in us.
The good news is Jesus loves us and has forgiven all of our sin. He wants to have a relationship with us. Once we have become part of his body, He wants to use us to reach the rest of the world with the message of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. He needs all of us healthy and strong and connected in order to accomplish this. For me that has meant a multiple step process, Step one, stay connected to the rest of the body, step two, get healthy, admit to my own sickness and need for help, step three, when sick, do what the Bible and my Christian leaders recommend to get well.
Stephan was a servant and yet his ministry included great wonders and signs and he was described as a man full of Gods grace and power. I want to be more like him.