Enjoying the Journey
A few days ago I had the joy of speaking in a local church to a group of deacons and their wives. It was a wonderful meeting of true servants. At the end of the session a man came to speak to me. He has just been installed as a new deacon in that church and was so excited about the opportunity to serve the Lord and His people.
In Scripture deacons are not “called” of God as pastors are, but they are qualified by God and chosen by the church. They are selected carefully and come along side the pastor to help the entire work of the Lord to move forward. The deacon’s office is the office of a servant.
In the first mention of deacons we discover a secret to both their life and labors: “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). They are to be spiritual men because their business is spiritual business! God’s work always is. If I had to summarize their ministry in one word I would use the Bible word given in 1 Corinthians 12:28 – helps. The deacon’s business is the business of helps.
- The deacon’s business is to help the needy(Acts 6:1). Specifically the widows and hurting within the church family. Their work is not merely with things but with people. It is often conducted in private and not in public.
- The deacon’s business is to help the pastor(Acts 6:2-4). Anything that frees the shepherd to concentrate on walking with the Chief Shepherd and feeding the sheep is a help to the entire flock.
- The deacon’s business is to help the lost come to Christ(Acts 6:5-7). It is of note that the only two of the original deacons that we know much about were both personal witnesses. Acts 7 tells us the story of Stephen and Acts 8 shows us the pattern of Philip. These men did not limit their work to the walls of the church meeting place. They believed it was their business to help get the gospel to others!
- The deacon’s business is to help his own family(1 Timothy 3:8-13). Indeed, every man’s first ministry is in his own home. The final picture we are given of the first deacon, Philip, is a beautiful picture of a happy and holy home, of children growing up to serve the Lord (Acts 21:8-9).
Thank God for faithful deacons who have served for many years. I had the joy of praying with some older deacons recently and was so blessed by their sincere walk with God. Yet in every generation we must see another wave of servants enlisted. There is a great need for men with the heart, home, and hunger to serve the Lord and their local church in any way possible. Just as younger ministers must begin to take their place we need a new generation of deacons in the local church.