It should grab our interest to read the details of how the Early Church grew so rapidly. The apostles knew the role God had called them to, and even the needs caused by exponential growth were not going to divert them from that calling. When the “widows were being neglected in the daily distribution” of food (Acts 6:1), the apostles did not take on the work themselves, nor did they overlook the need. Neither did they give this responsibility to anyone. They instructed “brothers” to “pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty” (6:3). Needs were to be met by spiritual leadership so that God’s power would be seen in how the church functioned.
Why was this responsibility delegated to others? The apostles knew they must “devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (6:4). It was how the church began and it was how the church was going to expand. The wording that Luke uses is very instructive; “we will devote ourselves” means, ‘to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of difficulty—‘to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in’ doing something of high importance. Considering what the Early Church faced, it is understandable why Luke uses this expression.
In all my experiences with the church over many years, these two devotions are least maintained by the church. Why? They are not given the importance that the Early Church gave them. How can we recapture prayer and the Word at the level we see in Acts? To five churches that were waning in their devotion, Jesus says one thing; “REPENT”! (Revelation 2:6, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19). There are a few places in this world where the church is taking this path and God is answering with revival. Will you lead the way where you are?
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