I love the above verse. It is a wonderful reminder to me that I need to do what God has called me to do. I am not called to have my hands in everything, only that which I am appointed to do.
In church ministry this becomes extremely important. There are a lot of things I might be able to do but the bigger question is what has God called me to?
The church in the New Testament was growing and the people started complaining that their were those being over looked who needed help. So the apostles gathered the people and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we may put in charge of this task.” (Acts 6:2-3) Now the apostles were not saying that they were above serving or looking after the widows. There point was, they could not do everything so then they must do what God has called them to and that is to teach the word of God.
God had called the apostles to “devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (v4) For them to do anything else would be to neglect the word of God. I think we see this often in churches today who have elders and deacons. The elders should be devoting themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. They should not worry about the “business” of the church. I have been in churches were this is done well and in churches were the lines get a bit blurry and there is no clear distinction. The sad thing is one side or the other suffer. Either the people or the word are neglected.
The solution is simple, understand your role and do what God has called you to do. If you are an elder (apostle) then devote yourself to prayer and the word, teaching and making disciples. If a deacon, then watch over the people making sure their needs are being met and no one is being overlooked.
It seems so easy doesn’t it? But we often make is so difficult. When the early church did this I love what happened, “The word of the Lord kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly… and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” (v7) There was even more growth among the people, not just within those already apart of the church but those in the community. Did you take notice who? A great number of the priests!
What an amazing influence they had when the word is being taught and the people were being taken care of. But what does this mean to me practically, especially if I am not an elder or deacon? It’s still pretty simple, do what God has called you to do and feel free to say NO to those you aren’t called to.
For example through the years I have been asked to teach children’s church or Sunday School, I have the freedom to say no because I know it’s not my calling. I have been asked to be on various committees and at times I’ve said yes because they need someone to get the work done. But if I am not called then it never works out and I often am left frustrated.
Bottom line is, if God calls you to teach then TEACH. If He calls you to serve the widows and care for the physical needs then SERVE. It does not mean that the one who teaches will NEVER serve or that the one who servers will never teach, it simply means that kingdom work is most successful when the body is doing what each member is called to do. (See 1 Cor 12:7-31)