Thursday, June 08, 2006

Complaints! and another observation

So I was reading something this morning that gave me another observation about Acts 1.8. "You will be my witnesses," the verse says. Here's the observation: the word translated "witnesses" is μαρτυρεσ or "martures". Or, more familiarly, "martyrs." "You will be my martyrs, in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the remotest part of the earth."

What does that mean, to be his martyrs? Ah, that's an interpretation.

Zooming ahead, I think we're about to read about the first complaints in the church, and the first committee -- well, the first deacons, anyway.
[T]he Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them...."
from Acts 6.1-3
Lots and lots of observations could be made from this passage. One that comes right out is that the Twelve did not say "Brothers, choose men experienced in restaurant management," or "Choose experts in logistics and fulfillment" or "Choose executive directors." They said to choose men "full of the Spirit and wisdom."

Now I'm going to switch to interpretation, and maybe make a foray into application.

What does it mean that they stressed spiritual qualifications and didn't mention management skills, logistical expertise, restaurant experience? Why were they talking about wisdom when they should have been talking about food?

Here is what I think. It was not only about serving food. (Seven guys was probably too few anyway for all the widows.) It was about learning and growth and discipleship. Because, when you look at what Jesus did with his disciples, what was it? He gave them very specific tasks to do. Go into town, find a man with a water jar, untie a donkey, give this food to the people sitting on the grass, etc. (I heard this 10-15 years ago maybe, from some famous preacher. Juan Carlos Ortiz I think it was.)

And so with the waiters. And with you and me too? Sometimes the Christian life is just doing practical things to serve people. And when we do it in Christ's name it becomes a sacrament. And in those things we learn, we grow, we follow the Master.

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