Acts 6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Seven Chosen to Serve
Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
In the early church, people were fed as a part of the ministry of compassion and hospitality. And there were seven people of good standing and faith who were appointed to this task, with prayer and the laying on of hands – the first Christian waiters.
Now that the holiday season has begun, we might also be experiencing soon the season for eating out. As we find ourselves at various tables in a variety of places, we may want to remember the people who work so hard that we are served.
In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find this prayer “For Those Who Wait on Others”. Let’s ask God to bless those who serve.
Great God and Father of humankind, You have taught us that if we want to be great, we must be servants of all. We thank You for those who help with household chores or wait on tables, whose work gives ease and comfort to others. Help them to know that their work is specially valued by Jesus Christ, who came as a servant with humility and love. Amen.