May 31, 2018

A New Era Begins

Acts 6:1-7

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly. . . .

—  Acts 6:7

The unity of the church can be threatened in many ways—even over the distribution of food. The church was growing as a “needs-meeting” community of faith. And that growth brought challenges, including the challenge of “overlooking.”

If we enter a room full of people, we usually look first for people we know. As a result, we can overlook others.

The followers of Jesus knew the Hebraic widows. They were the ones connected with families that they knew, or knew of. But the widows who came from Greek-speaking Jewish families were relatively unknown. So in the daily distribution of food, many of them went unnoticed—and unfed.

As tensions rose, the potential for church division along ethnic lines grew. So the apostles called everyone together to address this need. The apostles would remain focused on prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. Seven others would serve the needy, and it’s clear from the names of these seven leaders that they were from a Greek background. So the church’s unity was restored, and its story continued.

The church is still threatened if we overlook others because of ethnicity, gender, economics, or other characteristics today. May God give us eyes to see so that the story of his church continues, to his praise and glory!

Lord of the church, may we always remember that it is your church, not ours. Help us to live as your witnesses. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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