Jan. 7 - Acts, Part 5
Imagine you’re leaving church on a Sunday morning, feeling uplifted from the past hour of worship. As you approach the doors, you pass a huddled group of Newstart members and overhear several comments from the group:
“I was shocked by what Greg said in his message today!”
“I thought the band was too loud.”
“I think Newstart is doing too much service in the community.”
“Well, I think we should be doing more work in the community.”
“I don’t know how you focused on anything; the glare off of Greg’s head was blinding me today!”
That negativity may just squash any joy you had been feeling about your worship experience. In any large organization, even a religious institution, you’ll find your fair share of complainers, critics, and people throwing around accusations. This is what was going on in Acts 6 with the early Christians, where just one year ago, people were becoming more generous and loving and bringing so many others to Christ, but now the dissatisfied grumbling is starting.
Acts 6:1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.
This situation could have spiraled out of control, with leadership denying or ignoring the accusations, people taking sides, rifts continuing to grow, and eventually some people leaving the church. But what the apostles actually did is amazing! They addressed the issue head-on and assigned the responsibility of the food program to a newly-formed group. This solved the problem, while allowing the apostles to continue to focus on praying and teaching the word. It seems so simple!
Acts 6:7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.
Just six short verses later, the issue is resolved and God’s message is continuing to spread to new believers! What is really cool here is that we don’t even know if the accusations were true. All the apostles needed to know was that there was a concern among their people that needed to be addressed quickly, so they could get back to their work for the Lord.
If you missed the sermon on Sunday, be sure to check it out on uStream. Newstart’s leadership wants to face problems head-on, rather than allowing murmuring to distract from our real purpose – participating in the body of Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us to seek and save those who are lost. When issues arise, pray that God will give discernment in facing the issue not with anger, but with love.