This week, I went to a local McDonald's (in Avon Park) to grab a cup of coffee and work off-site for a little while. I went to sit down in the lobby and noticed chains set up all over it, while a worker was mopping the whole dining room area. There were some workers sitting there eating, so I asked one of them “which area can I sit in?!?” She went on to tell me the lobby was closed. Naturally, I asked what time it would open and she said “Next month!” I was flabbergasted at this (and probably remarked out loud how stupid that was). As I walked out to my car, I mumbled “well, how come they (the workers) can eat out there?!?”
In the beginning of the book of Acts, things started off really well for the early Church. The Holy Spirit came, thousands got saved, miracles were happening all over the place. People were being persecuted and prayer meetings happened; places were shaken and and biblical communities were birthed. And then you get to chapter 6, where you learn there were troubles within them. In spite of all the great moves of God occurring, people were upset about mealtime. You might say the lobby was closed for some of them. It is easy to get busy doing good things and get deterred from doing Godly things, but not these disciples. Here is how they handled it:
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables…So the Word of God spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:1-7)
All of this leads me to some important things we should want to see at HighPoint Church. These are things we need to be praying for and following up on.
People are still important
It is interesting to me that this “church fight” was between Hellenistic JEWS and Hebraic JEWS. Without getting technical, I want you to pay attention to something here. Pay attention to what unites these people (not what divides them). I think the same thing needs to happen where we worship. What unites us is that we ALL need Jesus, and that means that we will meet different types of people at church and those different types of people will bring different elements into the church with them. We need to see that anyone God brings to us is someone who needs Him (because we need Him, too). Sure, we are going to be differences, but the beauty of it is seeing how God unites us and makes us one.
Prayer is still important
As this family feud starts to smolder, the disciples give a “good answer” by saying “we know this is important, but we can’t stop what we are doing - we MUST remain focused on Prayer and the Ministry of The Word.” So they chose men who were full of faith and the Holy Spirit to make sure this need was met. They didn’t choose men who had great business acumen or political influence or lots of followers on Twitter. They didn’t appoint a committee with three Hellenistic and three Hebraics and an impartial moderator. They chose Godly men - this is still great way to look for in spiritual leaders.
The end result is that the Word of God spread and so did the Church. This didn’t kill them, so it made them stronger. When conflict is handled in a Biblical manner, it brings people closer to God and advances the gospel. If we really believe that people and prayer are that important, we will take time to pray for people! (Read that sentence again)
Who do you see getting mistreated and overlooked and under appreciated and misunderstood? Who do you see around you that you need to be praying for this week?!?