Read This Week: Acts 6
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 to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. – Acts 6:2-5 NIV
The ministry of the Gospel, serving and loving people is a joy and privilege, but it is not without its difficulties and challenges. Because it is worthy work that can be hard, followers of Jesus need more than intelligence, skill, talent, and the resources available to us in the modern age. Ministering to others, being efficient in meeting their needs, and sharing the good news of Christ in a hostile world, requires the power of the Holy Spirit and supernatural wisdom that comes from God.
Acts chapter 6 shines a light on the foundational necessities to be effective in ministry. As the church grew and the needs and demands increased among the people, the disciples realized that things were being neglected, folks were not growing spiritually, and the spread of the gospel was impeded. They concluded that their busyness caused them to neglect prayer and the ministry of the word. They were trying to do too much in their own power and overlooked the sources that propelled their work in the first place – prayer and God’s word.
Seeking God and reading His word is what gives us the power and wisdom to do the hard and necessary things of ministry. The disciples realize this and in verses 3-5 say:
“It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Intimacy with God through prayer and His word informs our service and allows it to be free of selfish ambition, religious strategy, and shallow conceit. When we become more attentive to God’s heart and His perfect will for us, we grow in our insight and spiritual awareness. This growth fuels our practical ministry and empowers us to love people more, meet their needs with compassion, and reach out to those who are far from God.
As we grow closer to God in spirit and wisdom vertically, we inevitably grow closer to other people horizontally. Fellowship and community are solidified when we pray for one another and study the Bible together. There is also a passion for the Gospel and its power to save, heal, and transform. Friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers are impacted by our desire to see the message of Christ communicated and lived out.
This return to the vital life sources of ministry for greater impact is exactly what we see in this chapter. As the disciples sought the Spirit and God’s wisdom through prayer and minister of the word, the results spoke for themselves. The blessings of God continued and increased, the people united, the church multiplied, and Jesus was glorified in their work. Verse 7 sums it up:
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.