SUNDAY, AUGUST 4, 2013.
CREDENTIALS OF WOULD BE SERVANTS OF GOD
‘So the 12 gathered all the disciples together and said, it would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.’
IT does seem that most church congregations are being filled with men and, sometimes women, who are desperate to lead the flock of Christ. It does not matter so much to some of them if genuinely they had a call. To some extent, this category of people can speak good English, have the charisma to raise funds, and can handle the word of God swiftly. After all, they have some form of education, but God’s work is much more than these.
The early church had a need because of the complaint that arose among believers. The Greek speaking Christians complained that their widows were being unfairly treated. This favouritism was probably not intentional, but was more likely caused by the language barrier. To correct the situation, the apostles put seven respected Greek-speaking men in charge of the food distribution programme. This solved the problem and the Apostles continued with the work of teaching and preaching the gospel.
The Apostles did not choose smart or eloquent people, they chose people of good character to serve the Lord. The men chosen were of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to perform the work of the Lord. Church work and positions were not taken lightly. Consider the calibre of men that distributed the food. This implies that the church of today should look out for mature and wise men and women to lead our different church congregations.
Let it be stated that there are some in the household of God, today, in the leadership position that ought not to be there in the first place. Church leadership is not a worldly or a political office, it is for the called, who will reveal the whole counsel of God. Yes, it is not just free for all. The aim is to avoid those who may offer strange fire at the altar. It required that those who must stand in the altar must keep the fire burning at all times, Lev. 6:8-13.
Yes, one can memorise the Bible, speak in tongues, but what is the nexus of his work with his character. There should be a re-think among church leadership of those sent for training in our Theological institutions, who may later lead God’s people. If we do not get it right, remember, if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do.
The Apostles were committed people and the quality of their leadership was not in doubt as they chose the right men for the work of God. If a man offers money or use people to persuade the leadership to make him a servant of the Lord, to lead God’s people, your guess is as good as mine on the type of ministry such a fellow would give at the end of the day.
Of the men chosen were, Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas. Their credentials were that they were full of the Holy Spirit, wise and commanded respect from the members. Worldly credentials are good; but of more importance, is the spiritual dimension. For that, which is born of the spirit is spirit and that born of the flesh is flesh, for the flesh cannot please the Lord God. Therefore, it is my considered opinion that those who would opt to serve the Lord should ask themselves: what are my credentials for leading the flock of Christ? Think about it.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.