Sunday, August 21, 2022

Failing to Smell Like Sheep (Acts 6)

By Ron Thomas


    As one reads in Acts 5, so here in Acts 6 – there was a problem in the midst of the local congregation. In chapter 5, it was a matter of a husband/wife thinking they could deceive the brethren and get away with it, but in thinking this way, they failed to realize the Lord took notice of their way of thinking and action. In chapter 6, it was a matter of the brethren being in need and feeling they were neglected.

    The problems were different, so they had to be dealt with differently. Regarding Ananias and Sapphira, the Lord made clear what was to be done. In chapter 6, the Lord’s apostles called on the brethren to help in the solution. Here is what they did. They called upon the brethren to identify seven godly men from their midst; these seven men would then be appointed over the task of tending to those in need, in this case, the daily distribution of food, perhaps other items.

    Why men, and not women? That’s the Lord’s doing, not ours. There were, no doubt, godly women more than capable of giving adequate attention to this as effectively as the men that were chosen, but the Lord chose men for this position, not the women. This is a good reminder for us, that when the Lord set up His holy institution, the church, what He said is not to be compromised for the social acceptance in western society.

    Seven men were chosen, as then presented to the congregation. These men not only had a work to do, but in their leadership, they had authority to get it accomplished. This is important for us to keep in mind. When the local church elders appoint men to a work, those men in that work are exhibiting leadership toward the accomplishment of that work or assignment. Thus, it is a tremendous mistake when someone makes a statement along this line,” Deacons have no leadership role and, thus, no authority.” Why would this be said? Perhaps a number of reasons might be given, but I would suggest only one: it’s a failure to understand authority and how it effectively operates. The local police have authority in their enforcement of the laws, but their authority does not exceed that barrier. Deacons have authority to accomplish their task / tasks, but not their authority does not correspond to that which resides in the elders.

    These men were given a work as godly men prepared to defend the honor of the Lord’s cause. This is illustrated in chapter 7 when attention is given to Stephen, one of the seven men chosen. There is another powerful lesson to not lose sight of. The apostles of the church saw the assignment in front of them as tremendously important, but not so important they were to lessen their responsibilities associated with the spiritual priorities of saving souls. Too many elders fail to do so when they sit in ivory towers and make decisions, failing to “smell like sheep.”

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

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