Scripture: Acts 6:1-15
Key verses: (3-4) “Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.”
Reflection: This story in Acts is about the first deacons in the church. After Pentecost, as the church began to grow, there were many people to care for in the new community and there were issues around this care. The needs of the church were overwhelming the Apostles. So, there were seven men who were identified as having gifts to serve. They were in good standing in the church, full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom and faith. They served others so that the Apostles could focus on prayer and preaching.
We continue to maintain this tradition of identifying men and women who are called by God and the community to be Deacons. The word diakonia is a Greek word from which our English word deacon is derived. It literally means, to serve. Deacons are persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment. In our church, they share in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed and anyone in distress. It is an important ministry. Deacons show the love of Christ through direct ministry with people both inside our church and in the larger community. It is a quiet ministry that can go unnoticed, but without Deacons there would be complaints. We would cease to be the community of faith if we didn’t care for one another. In our community we hear the word of God preached and we learn how to show the compassion and love of Christ – all so that we can go out into the world to serve. If we watch our deacons and become familiar with their work, we can learn how to reach out more effectively. Our care of one another and our care for our ministry partners will be transformed.
Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for those who quietly serve you behind the scenes. Help us to learn from our deacons. Remind us to encourage one another in the faith, so that we might show your love more effectively through acts of compassion and justice. May we be a caring community of believers showing the love of Christ to all we meet. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].