I hate going to the DMV… whoops, sorry, I mean the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission. It always takes a long time… and I always feel like I am just a number… with no value. It’s like that in a number of our daily interactions… stores, organizations, schools, our workplace, insurance companies, but especially when dealing with the local, state or federal government. Why? Do they really have such little regard for us? Maybe… but maybe not.
One thing I learned during my years in the business world is that organization is key. Without a good organizational system things get chaotic, people fall through the cracks… people that should be recognized and understood become a long line of disgruntled numbers and problems. Conversely, with a good organizational system, a company, commission, or workplace can focus their time and attention on people and their needs rather than the junk generated from organizational ineptness.
The same is true in the church… and always has been. This verse (v.1) from Acts 6 tells much:
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.
Basically, there were different ethnic groups involved… the Hellenists were Greek speaking people from all over and the Hebrews were Jews from Israel. And what they were saying is this, “hey our people are getting the shaft while your people are getting the goods!”. These guys didn’t want their service, to those in need, to be squandered or misapplied. They didn’t want hard feelings or the demoralizing experience of feeling like a number to effect their people. But, it happened. And it happened because of poor organization.
So, what did they do? Well, they 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.
They organized! Sometimes the best changes we can make in our own lives is to organize better… and sometimes the best service we can render (at our jobs, in our families, and around the community) is to help organize. It’s not a glamorous job… but a worthy one. In fact, the church recognizes this passage as the beginning of a whole new ‘order’ of ministers: deacons. Basically, the church acknowledged, and made good on, the fact that they needed people to do the organizational work. And that has made all the difference.