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Acts 6:1-7, Seven Chosen to Serve

Monday, April 9

Playing to Your Strengths

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

we can help each other

The apostles were spread thin. There was more work to do than they had people to do it. The Hellenists complained that the widows were being neglected, and they were starving. The apostles knew it was something that had to be taken care of, but also that it was something they did not have time to do. So they delegated. They chose seven from among the followers to take up the tasks they did not have time for, or that they were less equipped to handle.

Sometimes I think people believe they can have it all and do it all by themselves. We end up working ourselves into depression, heart attacks, sleep disorders, and any number of physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments. All because we are afraid to ask for help. At the same time, we are spinning our wheels trying to get better at the things we're not good at, while we neglect the things we are good at. We are a deficit-based society -- we spend more time and money on fixing what's wrong, and less time and money nurturing what's right.

I have heard of communities that have decided enough is enough. Neighbors and friends band together to divvy up their work loads based on the gifts and interests of the people gathered. In one community, where none of them enjoy cleaning, every other weekend they take turns gathering at one of their homes. They all pitch in to clean, and it's done in no time. The next time they all meet at someone else's home and do the same thing. It's always easier to clean someone else's home than to clean your own. And it's always more fun to work together.

Another approach is to barter your own gifts and interests with others with different gifts and interests. So, say you're good at accounting but you can't seem to get motivated to mow your yard. Find someone that's great a yard work who struggles with their finances. Barter your accounting skills with their landscaping skills, and everybody wins. In this system, we are all playing to our strengths, spending more time and energy nurturing what's right with us, and spending less time trying to fix what's wrong. There are 7 billion people on this planet. I'll bet you lunch you can find 3 or 4 people to barter with. Do what you're good at.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 6:1-7

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Earlier Event: April 8
John 20:19-31, Thomas
Later Event: April 10
Acts 6:8-15, The Arrest of Stephen