“In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, "It would not be right for us to give up the ministry of the Word to wait on tables. Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this business.”(Acts 6:1-3 HCSB)
There was a group of Greek speaking Jews of a Greco-Roman background who were raising a complaint against the Hebraic speaking Jews from Palestine. The complaint was simple, their widows were being overlooked in the daily distributions of food. To help solve this dilemma, the apostles sought out seven individuals who had a good reputation and were full of the Spirit and wisdom. On the surface these are strange credentials for waiting on tables. How much wisdom does it really take to dish out food? That is, unless there was more going on than just tables being set and cleaned.
It is true these seven’s primary responsibility would be to serve tables and wait on widows, but there’s a very important principle at work here that the apostles knew very well - serving precedes anointing. As we follow these seven out of the kitchen, we see some extraordinary things beginning to transpire.
Stephen was one of these appointed waiters. Scripture says that he “full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” He was so full of wisdom that even the most educated resisters of the gospel could not “resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:8,10). His life was loud and his influence was powerful. Stephen became the first person martyred for the cause of Christ.
Or, what about Philip, another of these original table waiters. The book of Acts records that in the midst of persecution against those following Christ, all the disciples were scattered, dispersing from their headquarters in the city of Jerusalem. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:5-8).
Serving precedes anointing.
Something happens when we simply step out and serve without pretension or hidden agenda – an anointing is released and supernatural signs begin to follow.
“There are many of us that are willing to do great things
For the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”
D. L. Moody