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Acts Chapter Six, Sharing The Burden...

In our study of Acts chapter six, we see the need for the division of labor in the early church. We see that the growth has made it impossible for the Apostles to do all of the ministry. We also see the continued jealousy of those who do not have the Holy Spirit.

Acts 6:1

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food." NIV translation

At first glance, this passage may seem very negative as it talks about conflict between groups of God's people but there are a couple of really positive things in it as well.

First, is that the number of disciples was growing. Out of the persecution that we looked at in the last chapter, faithful followers of Jesus kept sharing the good news and people accepted it.

The second positive thing in this verse is that the "church" was daily providing food for the widows. That is what caused the grumbling between the two groups but even so the church was taking care of the widows as Jesus had instructed.

Acts 6:2

"So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.'" NIV translation

Are you working in a ministry that God has placed on your heart or are you just laboring in an area where the church needs workers? There is a difference as we see in this passage. Instead of taking over the distribution of food to solve the problem, the apostles told the disciples that it would not be right for them to neglect the ministry that God had given them. God does not expect you to do everything only to be obedient in His will.

Acts 6:3 & 4

"'Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to then and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.'" NIV translation

The apostles turned responsibility for taking care of the "food pantry" over to seven of the disciples. This allowed them to concentrate on their ministry which was prayer and ministry of the word. There is a big difference between serving and doing the ministry that God has prepared for you. Serving where it is needed is not wrong but it should not interfere with doing the ministry that God has designed for you.

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