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Delegate Authority, Not Only Tasks

There was a problem with racism in the early church. During the daily distribution of food, the widows that had converted to Judaism were being passed over in favor of the widows that were of Jewish descent.

This couldn’t continue. Something had to be done. It had to happen right away. The apostles knew that. They had an important work to do, though. It was one that couldn’t be put aside.

The apostles’ work was clear: Prayer and ministry of the word (6:4). They couldn’t stop doing those things, and there was so much praying and preaching to do that there wasn’t time to do anything else.

So they appointed people to help them. This appointment wasn’t because the job wasn’t important. In fact, it was just the opposite. Because it was so important that there was equity in the food distribution, the Apostles wanted people who would make it their job to oversee it.

It is easy to get spread thin and to think about so many things that nothing gets our full attention. These Apostles knew that, and they continued giving their full attention to prayer and to the ministry of the word and appointed people to give their full attention to the food distribution.

Notice what they did. They laid hands on them, they set them apart for this ministry and they gave them the authority to take care of the food distribution.

So often, when we think of delegation, we think of delegating tasks. We will give people jobs to do while we maintain authority. That is not what the Apostles did. They set these people apart, giving them authority to do the job they were given. No longer did these seven need to run everything by the Apostles, for they had been given the authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to take over ownership of the food distribution.

May we heed their example. May we be people that are quick to turn over ministry. This is the way to ensure that all that God commands of His church is being performed in our local body.


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