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In these days the number of followers of Jesus was growing like crazy! But, whoopsie! Some of the widows were accidentally getting missed in the daily giving out of food. So the Twelve gathered all the Jesus learners together and said, “This is a little problem that needs fixed, but it wouldn’t be right for us to slow down in our proclaiming of the word of God in order to serve food. So, brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you to help serve the food. But there are two things you need to look for when choosing. It needs to be clearly seen and evident and well known that they are men full of the Spirit and full of wisdom. We will give this responsibility over to them, while we give our attention to prayer and to serving people with God’s words.”
Wait a minute! I thought they were all full of the Holy Spirit, weren’t they? The Holy Spirit fire came and rested on all of them. So why did the Twelve say that was the way to choose?
It’s because the Holy Spirit coming to live WITHIN a person, is not the same as the Holy Spirit FLOWING OUT of a person.
From the least to the greatest, all those who are reborn into Heaven’s Life have the Holy Spirit of God living within. But, everyone still has daily choices to make that determine just how much of that Holy-Spirit-fire-within is kindled and stirred up to where it flows out to affect other people.
It’s possible to smother the Spirit’s fire and energy with sinful or “normal-man life” living. When someone does that, they don’t experience the fullness of the Spirit’s OVERFLOWING life. God wants us to have an Inner Life with Him, not just good behavior or a submissive attitude or something like that. He wants us to have the life that Ezekiel talked about… a life that is part of the river that flows from the throne of God, getting deeper and deeper and deeper… and eventually flowing out to bless the nations. God’s Big Plan!
Sometimes I’ve wondered if God allows His Family to have a few problems here and there — whoopsie! — so that He can teach them something? In this case I think He was showing them (and us) that having a life Overflowing with His Spirit and Wisdom is what matters to Him, not having restaurant skills or job skills or work skills, or being someone who thinks they can pass out food “the best.”
This idea of picking seven men was good with everyone. So, without any fussing or fighting they picked seven men that they could clearly see were full of the Spirit and Wisdom. They chose Stephen — he was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. And they also picked Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas. They brought these men to the 12 apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
So the word of God spread out. And the number of disciples in Jerusalem kept going up, up, up… and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. It was a wonderful time.