Today's Lectionary Text
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.
As an overweight kid with an overwhelming lack of coordination, I was generally among the last chosen when it came time for games during recess in grade school. I’d watch as others got picked before me, question my own worth and abilities versus that of my friends as the process happened, and watch as a sigh was heaved before my name was called.
That’s what I was thinking about as I read the first seven verses of Acts 6, called “The Choosing of the Seven.” Word had spread about Jesus thanks to the original 12 disciples, and there was such a following and interest that they had to find someone to help on the front lines, freeing the 12 to give their attention to prayer and ministry.
Can you imagine the feelings – the joy, the trepidation, the curiosity – that accompanied the calling of their names? The willingness that it took for them to say yes? The courage of those asking for their assistance? (Trust me, I was on a church nominating committee for three years.)
We don’t hear much about those seven, whose names included Procorus, Nicanor and Parmenas, in the rest of the New Testament. I Googled Nicanor, and his inclusion was the only fact known about him.
But they were chosen to spread the word of Jesus. Sometimes we have to put our own egos second and remember who has chosen us.
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, We chose you because you chose us. Our lives don’t often reflect the gratitude we should have about that fact, but they should. We strive daily. Amen.
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