From Pauses for Pentecost
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.
I love the down-to-earth way the Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives. We often confine the work of the Holy Spirit to “spiritual” things, but the Spirit also wants to be involved in our immediate, everyday responsibilities. We see this in today’s scripture reading. In the early church, a conflict developed between the Greek and Hebrew-speaking widows. The former claim that they have been neglected in the distribution of food. This is a mundane matter that needs to be resolved with integrity and fairness. In response, the apostles form a team of seven Spirit-filled men to do the work.
Are you as taken aback as I was when I first read this? Surely sorting out who sits at what table and distributing the food and meals are relatively straightforward tasks that anyone with common sense can do. But the apostles see more deeply. They understand that they will need all the resources and wisdom of the Spirit for this practical and everyday matter. One of the men chosen, Stephen, is described as a person “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 6:5). He goes on to become the first martyr in the early church.
During most of our days, we are involved in work and responsibilities that are unspectacular and not very glamorous. We do things like taking kids to school, making meals, creating spreadsheets, answering emails, sitting in business meetings, mending broken appliances, typing minutes of meetings, meeting with clients, preparing lessons – and the list of ordinary activities goes on and on. While we may not think so, these things need just as much integrity and wisdom as ministries done by more high-profile, spiritual leaders. Those who wait on tables need the Spirit just as much as those who preach, those who lead churches, and those who write Christian books! Are you surprised?
Today, see each of your daily responsibilities as an opportunity for you to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.