Shortly after the church was born a problem arose among the believers. It seems that some of the widows felt that they were being neglected. Acts 6:1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. NASB
The term ‘Hebraic’ (Hebrews) refers to Jews who lived inside of the land of Palestine and the term ‘Hellenistic’ (speaking Greek) refers to those who didn’t. Perhaps the Jews who had lived near Jerusalem felt as though they were a little more ‘Jewish’ than those who didn’t. How would the apostles solve this problem?
Acts 6:2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. NASB
The apostles instructed the Hellenistic Jews to select seven men out of their own company to oversee the care of their widows. Among those chosen was a Hellenistic Jew named Stephen. What do we know about Stephen? Consider these characteristics listed in scripture:
He had a good name and reputation. (Acts 6:3)
He was full of the Holy Spirit indicating that he was Spirit-led man. (Acts 6:3)
He was full of wisdom and could be trusted for his judgment. (Acts 6:3)
He was full of faith indicating that he walked closely with God. (Acts 6:8)
He had supernatural power given to him by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 6:8)
He was responsible and trustworthy. (Acts 6:3)
He had a servant’s heart. (Acts 6:2-3) The title ‘Deacon’ literally means – one who waits on tables.
The Bible says: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chron 16:9 NASB) Stephen was a man whose heart belong completely to God and thus he was used by God in a powerful way. Join me again tomorrow as we learn more about this great man of God.