Tuesday, January 30
Scripture: Exodus 25-27, Acts 6
Acts 6:1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.
From the very beginning, Christians were caring for the poor. By Acts 6, there was an organized system of caring for widows. In Acts 4-5, people were sharing their excess to meet others’ needs.
The church was born in a white-hot atmosphere of evangelism! The gospel was being shared and people were being saved and added to the church on a daily basis!
But it wasn’t either/or: either evangelism or compassion for the poor. It was both/and…from the start. In fact, this is implicit in the disciples’ response to the crisis in Acts 6. “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables (administer the food distribution program). Choose seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to do it.” Notice the both/and. The apostles were called to spread the message and should devote their time to that: evangelism was important! But the feeding program was important too; therefore, pick seven good leaders. And look who they picked! Stephen led the list—Stephen, who was “full of grace and power, and was performing great wonders and signs among the people.” It’s not like they passed the feeding program off to second class leaders!
Christians often land on one side or the other: evangelism/discipleship vs. social action/compassion for the poor. But these are two wings on our plane; we can’t really fly without both! Both are motivated by God’s love for people. Love constrains us to share both: share the gospel and share our wealth.
I’ll look for opportunities today to share both!
Prayer: Lord, help me keep both wings on my plane, and share both: share what I have with others, spiritually and materially.