“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.’ ..And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some… rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking… And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel… They were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus… They cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him… cast him out of the city and stoned him… He called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit… do not hold this sin against them.’” Acts 6:1-3,5-6,8-10,15; 7:(1-53),54-55,57-60
Hearing Stephen’s remarkable speech, outlining the concise history of God’s nation Israel up to the coming of their Messiah, and stoking deep anger in its direct accusation of the religious leaders, we might think him famous for his eloquence and passion. But our introduction to Stephen tells that he was selected, because of his reputation and character, to be a waiter, implementing the daily distribution of food. Stephen was wholeheartedly devoted to his Lord, so no matter his position or occupation, he would serve Him in the fullness of God’s Spirit. He knew Jesus, and was so deeply affected by His grace and salvation, all he did and proclaimed was exquisitely marked by his Savior’s blood. (Romans 12:11-18)
Do I have such a gratitude and constraint that whatever biting words are pelted, or convictions are criticized, my words and actions boldly bear His imprint of love and kindness? Am I yielded enough to Jesus that I gladly accept any menial place I am assigned, and serve rather than expect to be served, or do I take thought for what place of importance, notoriety, privilege I might finagle? Do I consider myself above others, more enlightened, or think soberly of myself, according to God’s lavish grace to me? Wherever the Lord plants me, however wide my spread of influence, how will I catch the eye of those around me with the hope and beauty of Christ Jesus? (Proverbs 25:6-7; Matthew 20:28; Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3-8￼￼)
Lord, in all I have, in all I live, in all I do, may I bear the glorious marks of Christ. Dye every action and word with the beauty of your gospel blood, that others will see and desire and glorify You.￼ (Galatians 6:17; Colossians 3:23)