UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought was first posted on August 28, 2013. It has been updated.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Do Not Idealize the Early Church or Any Church”
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
When Jesus said that He will build His church (Matt. 16:18), surely He was not referring to some kind of movement or organization; but rather, He was talking about the New Covenant community—a family of God in Christ.
But in a family, there are bound to be some problems. This may come as a surprise to those who tend to idealize the early church, as if she were a perfect institution, but there were issues like the one mentioned in today’s passage. While the church was handing out daily sustenance to Jewish widows in need, the old prejudice resurfaced: apparently, the Hebraic widows got more food than those who were not. That’s a serious problem! This ugly situation developing in otherwise a fine early church suggests that inasmuch as we want to avoid conflicts and problem-makers in our churches, one undeniable fact is that it cannot be completely avoided.
May the Lord bless our churches in such a way that we will be a family that would overcome our differences to be one in Christ, to heal the sick and refresh the weary, and everyone in need being treated fairly. Consider Revelation 3:15 that says: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!” This is referring to churches needing to be useful (i.e., hot spring water to soothe the body and cold water to quench thirst). Pray that our churches would be useful in God’s kingdom.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to be useful in your kingdom work. Help me to be a problem-solver rather than a problem-maker for my church. Lord, help me to really love your church and protect her unity. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 9