In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic 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 and sisters, 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 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1-4
I have a confession. I often get frustrated with how God does things in the world. I’m not proud of that, but it is true. This text reminds me of a pattern I see throughout the scriptures, which is both beautiful and frustrating. God loves to use the weak to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:28). God tends to work through unexpected people and unexpected means.
In this passage, we find something that looks precarious from a human perspective. The church is growing fast, and the logistical bandwidth of the leadership becomes overly taxed. How will this young church deal with this challenge, especially with how quickly these issues are coming to the surface? From another perspective, the task of leadership is far too large for the growth of the church. It is overwhelming for the apostles, yet they can’t simply ignore the new challenge. They have been assigned a task that is too big for them. If I were God, I would have wanted a better strategic plan to scale the church’s growth. I would have liked a leadership development model, a mentorship program. That isn’t always how God does things. Instead, it is as if God’s Spirit thrives amid human limitations. This test is a prime example of that.
As much as we want to understand everything that God is doing and have a plan to participate, that isn’t the way God does his best work. What does that mean for us? It can be pretty comforting if we can shift our perspective a little bit. Perhaps, our feelings of insufficiency or exhaustion are fertile soil for God’s power. If you have ever felt insignificant or under-resourced, maybe you are in a prime position to participate in what God is doing.
Take a moment to write down all the skills, energy, and resources that you feel like you lack. Focus on the things that you feel are hindering your ability to more fully participate in God’s kingdom. Now ask the Lord to do what he has done so many times in the past, use your limitations to expand his work in the world. Ask him to help you to see your weakness as strength.
By Aaron Bjorklund