TEXT: ACTS 6:1-7

KEY VERSE: So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men who have a good reputation. They must be full of wisdom and the Spirit. We will give them this work to do.  ACTS 6:3(ERV)

Throughout the scriptures, we witness the transformative power of a man or woman of wisdom within a community, especially in times of crisis. An example is Jephthah, treated as an outcast by his stepbrothers, who became a star when a military conflict ensued in Israel. (Judges 11:1-11) The book of Judges showcases many of such leaders who arose in a time of crisis.

The chosen people in our text already had a reputation within the community for their outstanding capabilities; opportunities are usually given to people based on their value, not just their age or heritage.

The elders said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader so that we can fight the Ammonites.” Judges 11:6(ERV)

When God called Moses to liberate the Jews from Egypt, he felt inadequate and made excuses for not being fit for the task. God turned his attention to Aaron, his brother, who could support him in the mission. A visionary must harness the community’s skills, resources, and cooperation to succeed, as witnessed in the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 and 36), emphasizing the community’s empowerment and capability.

Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said, “All right! I’ll give you someone to help you. Aaron the Levite is your brother, isn’t he? He is a good speaker. In fact, Aaron is already coming to meet you, and he will be happy to see you. Exodus 4:14(ERV)

Moses said to the people of Israel:

The Lord has chosen Bezalel of the Judah tribe.  Not only has the Lord filled him with his Spirit, but he has given him wisdom and made him a skilled craftsman who can create objects of art with gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, and wood.  The Lord is urging him and Oholiab from the tribe of Dan to teach others.  And he has given them all kinds of artistic skills, including the ability to design and embroider with blue, purple, and red wool and to weave fine linen. Exodus 35:20-35(CEV)

Even within the family, parents play a crucial role in identifying each child’s gifts and nurturing them to their fullest potential. This practice fosters interdependence and unity within the family. Crisis has a way of spotlighting the competencies of men of wisdom and understanding, as everyone has to rely on them to save the community. We should see crisis not only as a work of the devil but also as an opportunity to tap into the potential within the community because God always turns what the devil meant for evil into good for his people.

The challenge within the early church, which could have split and impeded the church’s growth, allowed leaders to recognize and utilize the skills and resources within the community. Taping the potential within the body of Christ to harness our diversity is a crucial lesson for us today. Within the body of Christ are great potentials often overlooked and untapped when we make leadership all about one individual. Paul’s writings reveal the nature of the body of Christ and its similarities to the human body. We should value each other and allow everyone to utilize their gifts for the service of the community, making them feel appreciated and valued. Just as an orchestra unites the different sounds from all the instruments, God desires our unity in all our communities.

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing.  In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ, we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5(ERV)

 The Apostles did not minimize or ignore the widows’ complaints or allow themselves to be distracted from their primary assignment of teaching the word and praying. They looked beyond themselves for solutions within the community. This is a clear example of how effective communication and conflict resolution can help maintain unity and focus within a community. 

So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your men who have a good reputation. They must be full of wisdom and the Spirit. We will give them this work to do.  Acts 6:3(ERV)

Being full of the Holy Spirit was a priority in the early church and should still be so today. There are all kinds of wisdom; we must seek godly wisdom because the fruit it produces will continually advance the cause of the kingdom of God.

The wisdom that comes from God is first utterly pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favouritism or hint of hypocrisy. And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness—in other people and themselves. James 3:17(PHILLIPS)

During challenging situations, our potential is revealed just as Joseph’s ability to interpret the dream of the butler and baker while in prison made way for him to stand before Pharaoh. Joseph’s gift and skills served him, his family, the nation of Egypt, and the whole world. Ignoring the potential of the relationships around you will make reaching your goals and your community’s mission difficult. Seek wisdom to recognize the potential in your relationships. 

Questions for reflection

  1. What have you learned from how the Apostles handled the complaints from the widows? 
  2. What skills and abilities do you have that serve your relationships? 
  3. Who do you know that needs to be allowed to serve within your community? 
  4. Ask the Lord for wisdom to manage conflicts in your relationships.

Photo by Pierre Goiffon on Unsplash

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  1. Toyin Clay Pender

    In order to navigate relationships, one needs emotional intelligence, and this can be easy with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
    My husband, Samuel, is a worthy role model in this aspect because I see him relate easily, even with the most difficult people. 😊
    I’m learning a lit from him as I rely on the Holy Spirit to help me in my dealings with people, especially those that are difficult and “unlovely” in their behaviour.
    Not that I’m perfect myself. 😁
    Thank you again, dear Pastor Ada.

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