Caring in the Community


READ:  Acts 6:1-3

A COMMITMENT TO PROVIDE: Needs have to be met in a practical way. Widows with no other provision needed help from the church (v1). It is not enough to say "be warmed and filled" (James 2:16). We have to be ready to recognise and meet a whole range of community challenges. Let's pray for a greater grasp of this need for practical assistance.

A DAILY DISCIPLINE: The early church was systematic in its care. If needs continued, so did the supply - daily distribution was the norm (v1). Let's think of the care projects that we are aware of ourselves and pray for freshness and strength in the midst of routine.

A DESIRE FOR EQUALITY: It says something for the sensitivity of the early church that people were so quick to pick up on each other the moment their high standards started to slip (v1). It is important that we maintain standards of care. If we are aware of any in society who are missing out, let's mention the details and bring the situation before the Lord.

LEADERSHIP INVOLVEMENT: Sometimes community concern and social action seem to be of no interest to those in church leadership. This was not the case in the early church. The apostolic leadership took the initiative in correcting the neglect (v2). They maintained a right balance between the practical and spiritual. Let's pray that we will achieve this as individuals as well as achieving it as churches.

APPROPRIATE DELEGATION: The importance given to community concern in the early church is seen in the calibre of the workers required by the apostles (v3). Let's pray for ourselves that we will be people of "good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom".

DEFINED RESPONSIBILITY: The needs around us are so great that it is easy to be overwhelmed and to do nothing of lasting value. The apostles were wise in setting clear goals, appointing the seven over "this business" (v3). Let's pray for ourselves that we will be similarly well focused.

A POWERFUL RESULT: Resolving the social action issue whilst maintaining a strong prayer and preaching ministry led to a significant growth breakthrough for the early church (v7). Let's pray that we will be so effective in meeting needs that it catches the attention of people in a way that opens them up to receiving God's Word.