Note: Text in this color is quoted from the NIV Bible.
The Act 6 Church Conflict
[Acts 6: 1-2A]
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.
Remaking of a Denial Edition
So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said.
“Why are people complaining? Don’t they know that we are so busy in spreading the gospel that we have no time for this? If we acknowledge the problems, it will make us all look so bad, especially the leadership. This can easily spin out of control. We must find ways to contain it and deescalate it. We must find a way to silent those who complained.
If we keep on going as if this did not happen without taking this on, may be the issue will eventually take care of itself.
So the Hebraic Jews continued to overlook the widows of the Hellenistic Jews in the daily distribution of food. As the leaders let the issues fester, the Hebraic Jews perceived the leaders’ silence as an implicit endorsement of their act. They repeated the same problematic daily practice more openly, more boldly, with increased capacity and intensity.
When the grievances of the Hellenistic Jews and the widows reached a new height, the Twelve came out and told them to submit to their authority and gave a long sermon on forgiveness.
As a consequence, the sense of oppression and discrimination grew deep among the Hellenistic Jews and their widows. These widows talked among themselves, saying, even the non-Christian Greeks and the Jews of Judaism cared more about their widows than these Christians.
The original issues continued to be ignored with no acknowledgement. Though hurt grew, the leaders’ silence invalidated such sentiment. Contrary to the leaders’ anticipation of natural disintegration of the issues, the negativity and grievances grew like wild fire.
Some Hellenistic Jews started to leave the church. The number of church attendance dropped drastically. There was a heavy spirit of bondage and darkness haunting the church. Instead of getting together to pray and to study the Word, gossips compounded. The bad reputation of the church spread over the town of Jerusalem.
Thank God for the Original Edition
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.
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. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
Extracting the Godly Wisdom
Walk in the Light
The most powerful church leadership is one that walk in the light even in tough situations. Being in the light is an essential characteristics of living in His Kingdom. It means that there is nothing hidden for fear of being exposed. Instead of pretending nothing went wrong out of fear, and let the issues fester, there is boldness, openness and humility to acknowledge what actually happened. When leaders walked in the light, there is a spirit of freedom within the church.
On the other hand, denial is a act from the kingdom of darkness. Ungodly control by silencing put spiritual toxic into the community, giving the evil one a foothold.
Act in and out of Love
Instead of exerting ungodly control, ignoring the hurt of the people, the disciples acted in love and out of love without ignoring the suffering and unfairness to the Hellenistic widows. The Twelve also demonstrated love by walking the talk of embracing diversity. They loved the people who brought up issues they might make them feel exposed or uncomfortable. They involved and endorsed both the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews to lead in finding a permanent resolution.
Let those Full of the Spirit and Wisdom be a part of the Godly Solution
One may wonder why minor task such as distribution of food required those who were full of the Spirit and wisdom. Without spiritual discernment, there would be a blindness and a lack of understanding of the crux of the issue and therefore applied the wrong solution. For example, this might be perceived as a resource issue and asked for more offering, or a racial tension and therefore split the church into two ethnic churches. Only leaders whose hearts care so deeply about what the Father’s heart cares about, would seek to find a solution that is pleasing to the Father’s heart, instead of finding a politically correct solution that makes them look good only at the surface, but have no real substance of love.
Stay Focus on Kingdom Agenda
God honors the fear of God over the fear of men. Instead of seeking politically correctness to find a people pleasing solution, acting out of fear of people, the Twelve stayed focus on the kingdom agenda even in tough situation, which was the ministry of the Word of God, without ignoring the needs of the widows. They stayed focus on kingdom ministry by taking care of issues so they are no longer distracting, not by avoiding them and let them snowball.
Signs of a Resolution Well-Pleased by God
Often, a church reaps what it sows. Resolution that is well pleased by God has its natural spiritual consequences: that church grows in spiritual maturity as well as in size. After all, a church which is evident of God’s favor and presence attracts people to dwell in that faith community. Who would want to walk away from His favor and blessings? Who would not want to be a part in His mighty power and manifestations?
- So the WORD of God spread
- The NUMBER of disciples increased rapidly
- A large number of priests became OBEDIENT TO FAITH.