It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Acts 6:2 ESV
Dear ICB family,
It is easy to read a heavy dose of haughty superiority into the words "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables" (Acts 6:2 ESV). However, in light of the apostles' story through the gospels and up to this point in the book of Acts, I can't believe arrogance had anything to do with it.
First of all, Jesus had given those whom he appointed apostles a clear task. They were to serve as witnesses to the world of Christ's suffering and resurrection and of the fact that now repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in Jesus' name to the nations. (See Luke 24:46–49 and Acts 1:8.)
As Acts opens, we see that one of the principle ways that the apostles testified to what they had witnessed firsthand was through the public and private proclamation of the central message of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42). It was out of devotion to the task entrusted to them by their Lord and Master, not out of arrogance, that they would not let even good things like serving tables get in the way.
Second, these men had suffered in order to be faithful to the charge that Jesus had given to them. A group who would leave the religious council having just been beaten and "[rejoice] that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41) does not strike me as a group of men on a power trip.
For these and other reasons, I cannot imagine even an ounce of self-exalting egotism at work in the sentence "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables." Perhaps other men would have uttered that sentence with an air of superiority. No doubt that people even today use the sentence to justify their not pulling up their shirt sleeves, stooping down from their lofty perches, and getting their hands dirty. But not these men. No way.
Do you know the task to which God has called you? We will one day be required to give an account of how faithful we were with what our Master placed in our hands (see Matthew 25:14–30 and Luke 19:11–27).
Are you devoted to that task with all your might, such that not even good opportunities hinder your faithfulness to your central charge? That is the lesson of the apostles' words in Acts 6:2.
And are you so confident in the work your Master has given you and so zealous to carry it out that you, with all humility, would say when presented with even a good opportunity to serve, "It is not right that I should give up ______ even to ______"? The apostles' single-heartedness is worthy of imitation.
Let's join them, starting this week, in not letting even good things get in the way of the tasks to which our Master will one day call us to give an account.
Praying for single-heartedness along with you,