So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
In Acts 6, we see the early church addressing a complaint from the Greek-speaking Jews against the Hebrew-speaking Jews about a lack of aid to widows in need. This issue had the potential to divide the church or divert the attention of the disciples away from preaching the Word. Rather than letting the issue get out of hand, the disciples gathered, and selected and prayed over Spirit-filled men to tend to this important matter. As a result, the church grew, God’s Word spread throughout the area, and many turned to faith in Christ! As the church faced obstacles, it sought God’s wisdom and put it into action, glorifying God above all!
In today’s world, there are countless issues—like those surrounding COVID-19—which have the potential to unnecessarily divide the church. What can we learn from the early church, so that when we do face conflict, God is ultimately glorified and many more come to faith in Christ?
First, we can pray for church leaders—that they may seek God’s wisdom in their decisions, and remain devoted to prayer, shepherding the flock, and preaching God’s Word.
Second, we can make ourselves ready to serve. We can ask God for more generosity, more patience, and a greater love for His people, and then go out and make use of the gifts He’s given us by serving others in any way we can!
Third, we can let the Gospel be our motivation. God sent His Son to die for us though we did not deserve it, makes us more like Christ as we grow in our walk, and uses us to reach others in ways that we may not expect. The Gospel kindly compels us to walk humbly (as God has accomplished everything for us in salvation), to love others (as God has loved us more than anyone ever could), and to live like Christ (since God doesn’t just call us to make a mental decision; He calls us to be changed people seeking after Him and what He desires).
Let’s pray, serve, and live Gospel-empowered lives, so that God can use us as He wills when we encounter difficult obstacles.