The Apostles Listened and Didn’t Dismiss

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
(Acts 6:1)

The horrible killing of George Floyd is just another reminder that hatred and racism is real in this country.

There was racial / ethic tension in the early church. It was real. Here is just one example.

Some widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. The Hebrew widows were doing just fine. They never missed a meal, and the Hebrews made sure their widows were well cared for. It was the Greek (Hellenist) Jews, whose widows were being overlooked.

The neglect, the favoritism, and the divide came to a head. The Hellenists cried out against the Hebrews because of the unfair treatment. “This isn’t right,” they said.

What did the apostles do? Did they dismiss the problem? Nope. Did they accuse the Hellenists of bad motives, of not being thankful, of creating a problem that doesn’t exist? Nope. Did they come back with “All Widows Matter.” Nope. Did they threaten and intimidate the Hellenists for speaking up? Nope.

What the apostles did first of all was listen. The leadership listened. They heard the cries of those who were being neglected and mistreated.

Secondly, they accepted that the problem was real and needed a godly solution. It was time to act.

Third they empowered the church, including those who were being mistreated to be part of the solution (Acts 6:3-6). Those who are in leadership and are reading this article, please, please, please see that it was the church, not the leadership, who selected the 7 men who would oversee the care of the widows. The apostles demonstrated confidence in the church to select who would take care of this issue. Notice that all 7 men had Greek names, not Hebrew ones (Acts 6:5). The group chose Greek (Hellenist) men to address the problem. Can you imagine us choosing an all-white panel to address racism in America?

These three basic things must be done today by our leaders, in churches, in business, and in America. Leaders have to listen, especially right now. Leaders cannot dismiss a problem that many people are consistently bringing up. Leaders have to empower people to be part of the solution.

Don’t get caught up in the reactions of some who are doing wrong and miss the hurt and pain of so many who are living what many of us have dismissed and don’t have to deal with on a daily basis.

Listen.

Don’t dismiss. Be part of the solution.

Empower others to be part of the solution.

Tomorrow, I’m going to post articles and videos from our sisters in Christ who are African American. Listen to them. Hear their pain and what they experience.

Stretching Fence

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 6:17-20)

We’ve been working on putting up fence lately, and it is a long process (at least for us, because we are certainly not pros). Woven wire fencing has to be stretched and attached to the posts. In order for it to be stretched properly you need to have your corner and gate posts anchored and set in the ground and they have to be braced.  If you attach that woven wire to fence posts that are not firmly set in the ground and braced, you will have all kinds of problems when you try to stretch the fence. The sagging fence and leaning posts will reveal that you didn’t do your job right.

That being said, if you have hefty corners that are well set and braced, then you can put a lot of tension on that fencing and it will do just fine. We attached a come-along to the fence and then to our van (that big Ford Van ain’t moving). We cranked on that fence with a come-along and a chain, and the fence tightened and stretched.

So, here is the point for the day. When we are anchored and attached to the right things, we can endure an enormous amount of pressure.

How could Christians endure being slaughtered, tortured and crucified for their faith? Because they were anchored to Christ and His promises in heaven. How does a spouse endure adultery and betrayal? How do people move on after devastation like we saw from Hurricane Harvey? How do we cope when we hear the word, “cancer?

By being anchored and attached to the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ.

Pressure and trials will reveal what our anchor and foundations are (1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:7). What’s your corner post? Are you truly anchored to Jesus and His promises?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)