Acts 6.2b, 4 “The Message”
“It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities… we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”
There are many good things to do in life; an abundance of noble causes, professions, and service opportunities. Of course, I cannot do them all. I must limit myself and do only that to which I am called.
When my daughter Rachel was 4 years old, she was fond of saying, “I’m going to do everything and be everything when I grow up”. At a minimum, I understood she would have a spacious home on a ranch with vast acreage where she would care for her aging mother and me. She would own horses and teach us all to ride. I entered the dream and imagined myself enjoying long rides on a gentle steed trotting into the sunset of my golden years with my wife and Rachel (and her rich husband). I delighted in my little girl’s innocent and (what she thought was a) fully achievable ambition to “do everything and be everything”
Sadly, Rachel’s idealism lessened with time. At the ripe age of 14, my youngest child is already more realistic than I wish she was. She no longer believes she will “do and be everything”. At 10 she wanted to be a veterinarian and “take care of animals”. Now she is content to run track, take care of her beloved Aussie Doodle, get A grades in school, and giggle with her friends. Lofty goals are attainable, but no one, not even Rachel, can “do everything and be everything”. Life’s way too short and humans are far too limited. With age we (normally) earn enough wisdom to accept the limitations of time, space, and calling.
The early apostles were extremely aware of the limitations imposed by their calling. They resolved to ‘stick to their assignment’ of prayer and preaching. The church leaders argued, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables” (Acts 6.2). The congregation would select deacons to ensure fair treatment of widows among the Hellenistic Jewish converts in the daily rationing of food. As for the apostles, they would limit themselves to their “assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”
Should every follower of Christ strive for an apostolic expression of faith and focus exclusively on prayer and preaching? Not at all. Each person of faith is charged with the responsibility of discovering God’s specific will and must stick to the “assigned tasks”, whatever those may be.