When a conflict arises, the twelve apostles ask the congregation to form a committee for the purpose of choosing seven men “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” to solve it. One of these men is Stephen, who went on to perform “great signs and wonders among the people.” When other religious leaders take offense to his actions, they set him before a council and have witnesses testify, falsely, against him. (Stay tuned next week for the story’s conclusion.)
But why did the apostles decline the responsibility of the original conflict and pass it off to a committee? In verse 4 they state, “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This may not seem like a full-time obligation requiring their undivided attention, but take into account the circumstances. These are THE twelve people responsible for sharing Jesus with the world. With no social media, Netflix, and shuttling children to soccer practice to distract them, their time had to be completely devoted to seeking and understanding God’s will for them (prayer) and and then sharing the message and purpose of God’s will with the world (ministry of the word).
It is important to remember that God’s will for us is not to live life according to a set of rules. His will for us is to submit ourselves to the person of God, our Father in Heaven, our Blessed Redeemer and Wonderful Counselor. He knows us more intimately and loves us more thoroughly than anyone else, and His will is based on what a perfect life for us is. But we can’t get there on our own. It has to be through a relationship with Him and an understanding and spreading of His word.
Acts 6:7 “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”