Justice is a powerful gospel tool
|In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food... |
"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"...
They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts6:1-7)
There had been an 'incident' in the church's daily life. And it was a hot potato! There were widows who were being neglected while others were being cared for... and the neglect was on racial grounds - Jewish women received care, Greek women didn't.
The disciples respond quickly and decisively. They recognise the urgency and they delegate the important task of food distribution to seven men: Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (who all have Greek names) to right the wrong.
Not only do they take the time to entrust this this task to specific people, but they celebrate the spirituality of this practical task: They require that the candidates be filled with the Spirit and and then they pray for them and lay hands on them when they are appointed.
I am fascinated by the outcome of this action. When the injustice was addressed in this thorough and godly way, three things happened:
- The word of God spread
- The number of disciples increased
- A large number of priests came to faith.
All this because an injustice was addressed.
I'm especially interested in the large number of priests who were converted by this. Could it be that they were so disillusioned by the corruption and nationalism of Judaism - just think of the money-changers in the court of the Gentiles - that this example of justice, fairness and swift, practical action really touched them?
The church gains great credibility when it acts practically and with deep-spirituality to injustices. This is not party-politics, but the politics of Jesus: Love one another, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, liberate the captives and bring relief to the oppressed.
Emmanuel Presby Church
email@example.com Cell: 082-5510752