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.” (Acts 6:2-4)
It’s easy to read this text and get the impression that serving the needy is of lesser value than preaching and teaching. However, I’m reminded of Jesus' words that declared if we want to serve Him then we do so by serving those in need (Matthew 25).
So what are we to learn here from the twelve apostles who delegated the duty of serving the widows to other men in order to not interfere with their devotion to prayer and teaching?
First is the fact that it seems unreasonable for us to expect teachers, preachers, and leaders to be the ones solely responsible for all aspects of the ministry within the church. Collectively, we make up the body of Christ, and therefore we ought to understand and undertake our own personal roles in benefiting the overall ministry of His church.
Second, those called to be teachers and preachers of the gospel have been given a weighty responsibility as those that have been chosen to instruct all followers of Jesus in sound doctrine. Therefore, those called to these positions ought to be able to devote themselves tirelessly to being taught by the Spirit through much prayer and study.
An idleness among believers that expects “those in ministry” to do everything and a lack of power and efficiency from “those in ministry” because of excessive business are habits that can harm the health of the Lord's church.
Lord, assign us our roles, and may we adequately embrace our responsibilities.