Confer through Complaint

“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.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’  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, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:1-7

As the early church grew, there were naturally bumps and bruises in relationships and the smooth running of things. Spirit-filled fellowship and sharing resources within small gatherings brought challenges in organization and opinions over the how what when. The twelve, clear in their calling and trained well by the Good Teacher Jesus, implemented practical and godly solutions. We are all people of faith and the Spirit, yet we have different kingdom callings. Each is vital in contributing to the whole ministry, and must do his own part in God’s grace and power. Rather than pushing to be the superior public face, or belittling the ministry of service, they conferred together to come up with an agreeable plan to make sure the Word and the food were distributed. With each devoted to God’s mission, all were pleased to serve as needed under His anointing. (John 6:5-13)

How easy it is to posture and bicker according to pride, personal preferences, and professed right opinions. How could our churches better thrive if, rather than complaining, and allowing consternation to stew and bubble over into caustic destruction of civility and the joy of agreement, every complaint and need was treated as an opportunity to confer with one another? When we discuss, share ideas, think through strategy together, and maybe even compromise, resolutions are palpable to the masses and pleasing to the Lord. When we pray, He leads us in unity and direction. (Acts 1:12-26)

Whose best interest drives our responses and decisions- our own, or the Lord’s? Where have we not taken the high road in dealing with complaints and disagreements, slipping instead to aggression, bossiness, favoritism, or condescension? Will we commit to seeking first the Lord and the welfare of His kingdom, and trust Him with assignments and outcomes? When called upon, how willing are we to do the menial tasks, or to support others in doing so? Conferring and serving together fortifies the communion of saints, and is a brilliant example to a lost and angry world of how the Spirit works among His people. (Matthew 6:33; Romans 12:1-8,16; Philippians 2:12-15)

Jehovah Shalom, help me bring Your peace, wisdom, and grace into every grumble, and so smooth the way for others to behold and praise You.

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