“Struggles with Success”

Acts 6:1-7

The Pentecost mountain top experience has gradually come to deal with the reality of every day life.  The followers of Jesus who see themselves as Jews, following Jesus, who died and is alive, are creating waves with the establishment.  Peter and John have been jailed twice now and severely warned about preaching.  Challenges meet the group from another front.  Those 3000 converts on Pentecost came from many language groups and Jerusalem is an international city.  Their original tactic of sharing and supporting each other is causing problems.  Factions are growing within the group.  The group seems to be divided between the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews. Food distribution to widows does not seem to be fair.  Success creates new problems that have to be confronted.

         As we look at the splintering of modern Christian churches in the USA, we know the dynamic.  An English Lutheran church can be in the same block as a German Lutheran church or a Norwegian Lutheran church.  Organizational structure challenges was the byproduct of success.  Leadership did not splinter but they did meet.  The leaders gathered and decided to divide the tasks and appointed “deacons” to assist while the apostles focused on “ministry of the word and prayer” and selected men for ministries of service.  Thus began the seeds of “gifting.”  They realized that people, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, were gifted to do different tasks for the functioning of any fellowship.

         So if you were a fly on the wall back then, which group would you have wanted to be part of?  Choir, kitchen crew, worship team, education or perhaps ushering?  Spiritual growth is not just an academic awareness of the things we believe but it is also a growth in awareness of just how we fit into the body, the bigger picture.  We are not all preachers but we are all important to a fellowship.  I Corinthians 12 talks about spiritual gifts.  People debate whether we are gifted to do a job or if the gifts grows out of natural talents but the presence of God’s Spirit and wisdom seems to identify gift from natural talent.  We might ask ourselves today what brings us genuine joy when we go to church.  Spend a moment thanking God that you are important and your contribution is important.  Pray also for the leadership in your local gathering and for the church universal as it deals with all the challenges in our world today.  Blessings.

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