“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, which we may put in charge of this task.” (Acts 6:2, 3)… “And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 6:5)
Stephen was living his life in such a way that it caught the attention of the leaders in the church. One must reason: What were the leaders seeing in Stephen that set him apart from others? What does a man of good reputation look like? Would you consider yourself a man of good reputation? What would the leaders of your Church or work, report? I asked various individuals these questions and the responses were ambiguous. I came to realize some people live their lives in fear of what others think about them. This can be unhealthy because you cannot always appease men (learned that working in food service). On the other hand, there are those who disregard anyone else’s opinion, not allowing accountability to challenge their walks. There has to be healthy median.
In any case, the Apostles chose the right man for the job. As you read Stephen’s story he is constantly characterized as a man full of the Spirit, and he goes on to defend the faith and becomes one of the first martyrs for Christ. The interesting conclusion is that he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, not sitting as it is usually stated. There are various theories on this occasion; but I personally believe that Christ was ready to receive him and was pleased by the level of obedience. Stephen ends with two prayers: 1) Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, 2) Lord, do not hold this sin against them. Wow! In the midst of his persecution, he pleads to God for his accusers. This is an example a man filled with the Holy Spirit.
I ask myself am I a person full of the spirit, or did I receive Christ and become unproductive? Everyone will have a legacy to pass on, and similar to Stephen we can finish this race well, with endurance, and leave a testimony to our families, friends, but most all, to the glory of God. Stephen’s story is still influencing individuals, and with the power of Jesus Christ, we can do the same.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) – Juan Mendez is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and serves on the full-time staff at America’s Keswick
Think About This:A cross without offense in the world is a cross without power in the world. —Steven Lawson
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my Savior. My God is my rock. I can run to him for safety. He is my shield and my saving strength, my defender and my place of safety. The Lord saves me from those who want to harm me. 2 Samuel 22:2-3