The Food Bank Crisis
The young pastor had just been hired when the crisis exploded. One of the major ministries in the church was a food bank organized in obedience to Jesus’ command to “feed the hungry.” Bags of groceries were prepared (enough to feed a family over the weekend.) Then Friday afternoon they were made available at the Elementary Schools for the kids who received free lunches during the week.
Both Hispanics and Blacks had begun to give some color to the previously white suburban congregation, and this multi-racial emphasis intensified the heat over the food distribution.
A group of new Hispanic church members showed up at the new pastor’s office. “For the last two weeks, Pastor, our kids have lined up for their bag. Right before their turn, there were no more groceries available. We want to know why every other ethnic group of kids got a bag and our kids were left out?”
The pastor sighed, “Talk about baptism by fire!” Time to drop everything—his personal quiet time and his scheduled time to study, pray and try to internalize the Word so that his Sunday message shared life, not just Bible facts-- or was it?
The first century Jerusalem Church had their first big fight over food that even had some racial overtones to the problem. And Dr. Luke lets us take a look at how the Apostles handled the fight.
“Now in those days when the number of followers of Jesus was growing, the Greek speakers started grumbling against the Hebrew speakers because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distributions. So the Twelve gathered the entire group of believers together and said, “Is it desirable for us to neglect the Word of God to serve tables? So brothers, select from yourselves men. They must be controlled by the Holy Spirit and wise. Appoint them to meet this need. And we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’“ Acts 6:1-4
It’s a question of priorities. If those responsible for living and teaching the Word and for spending time in prayer in a church family are covered over with practical administrative tasks, will the church get to hear what God has to say from His Word when they gather?
LORD, thanks for loyal church leaders who allowed me to spend the majority of my time in studying your Word and prayer in the local church pastorate. Raise up a new generation of pastors who will be far more passionate about understanding and living your Word, than they are about the latest business leadership principles.
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