Saturday, February 27, 2010

Governmental Apostles (8) Waiting on Tables

The Jerusalem disciples apostles received clear instructions that they should keep out of the finance business.

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 (Acts 6:1).
This problem is inevitable when the distribution of finances is centralised. The people responsible for distribution simply cannot understand all needs and assess them correctly. Some people will end up getting more than they need, while others miss out. This happens with many modern Christian foundations. Those with good connections tend to get plentiful finance, but some really good people miss out on funding.

The solution to the apostle’s problem was to appoint deacons to take care of the money. Under the guidance of the Spirit, they identified seven men to be deacons. The ministry of the deacon is an important ministry that needs to be restored in the modern church (see Ministry of the Deacon).

This experience changed the apostles approach to their ministry.
We will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).
They committed to focussing on prayer and preaching. There is no mention of handling finance. This change is confirmed in their other statement.
It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables (Acts 6:2).
The apostles decided that it would be wrong for them to wait on tables. The Greek expression for “waiting on tables” is “diakonein trapezais”. The word “trapezais” means table, so one meaning of the expression is serving food. However, the word “trapezais” is also used in the gospels for the money changers’ tables (Matt 21:12, John 2:15) and the counter of a bank (Luke 19:23). This suggests that the apostles were not just resolving to stop serving food. They were also saying it would be wrong for them to manage the collection of money.

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