Sunday, August 29, 2010

A little about Stephen

Stephen story in the New Testament isn't very long, but he makes quite an impression in only two chapters. This guy was such a powerful speaker that his most learned opponents "could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking", and resorted to lying about him to try to shut him up. When he was brought before the rulers, he delivered an incredibly bold, convicting, smoldering sermon that left the listeners with only two choices - repent, or kill him. They chose poorly, and Stephen became the first martyr for Jesus. Unwilling to be silenced or compromise the truth, he stands forever as a model to those who would rather die than disown their Lord.

Yet despite his obvious oratory gifts, what do we first see him doing in the Jerusalem church? He's in charge of making sure that when food is distributed to widows, the Jews don't get more than the Gentiles. This incredible preacher is assigned lunch duty, and he does it without complaint.

I was thinking about this recently as I was contemplating those who don't serve anywhere in the church. Specifically, those who are waiting to find "the right place" to use their gifts. Maybe they have musical talent, but there are no openings for 'worship leader'. They want to be teachers, but no opportunities have been made available. Or they look at the known service opportunities, find nothing interesting, and forget about it.

To them, I present Stephen. He was a powerful preacher, but the preaching calendar in the Jerusalem church would be rather full (at best, he would be #13 in line). But rather than sit on his hands or pout, he dove into the ministry that was offered to him - caring for widows and keeping the peace. And when his chance to preach came, he made the most of it.

If you're in a church where you can't serve in your ideal role, be like Stephen. There are so many needs in the body. Find one, and help fill it.


Robert said...

Thanks for gives a wonderful biblical example for us to use to exhort men for service in the church.

trogdor said...

Thanks. I hope it's useful, it's something I have to remind myself of whenever pride and envy creep in.

I was going to add on something about those who are unemployed for two years and can't find something "in my field", but decided it would detract. I'm sure you can guess the application there.

Robert said...

It is definitely useful and I have forwarded it to the pastor and elders for the local church that I am a member of.

I would say it definitely has an application for the unemployed, as well as for those who are looking forward to retirement. I am trying to be mindful of that now and throughout my career so that when I do retire, I am looking to redeem the time in service to God.