July 20

1 Chronicles 11:10-11 (NIV) 10These were the chiefs of David's mighty men–they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the LORD had promised– 11this is the list of David's mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hacmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.

David had a very large following of mighty men. These men began gathering around David when he fled from Saul. Why did they come to him? He had nothing to offer them. They were a bit like the old gangs whom people paid protection money, only they actually did protect people. In the account of their protection of Nabal, David could say that they took nothing from him. They may have been men of ill repute but they were willing to follow David's example. Surely David shared with them his love for God. If nothing else, they learned of it in his psalms, many of which David wrote while on the run from Saul.

I think there was another thing that drew them; David was anointed. The presence of God was with him. In his words and actions, there was something different, something of God. When a man or woman commits himself or herself completely to God, there is a fire of dedication that draws people. People come to watch them burn while wondering if they can have such a zeal for God. The mighty men of David followed David's example of standing by faith in the power of God against impossible enemies. Their faith was strengthened by his example, and they had a testimony all their own.

Your faith can be contagious and inspire others to trust in God. Nothing short of complete dedication is going to catch the attention of others. Extraordinary faith comes from an extraordinary relationship. We see David's extraordinary relationship with God in the psalms.

Prayer: Lord, help me to enter into that kind of extraordinary relationship with You.

July 20

Acts 6:2-4 (NIV) 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

God granted the apostles power to perform miraculous signs and healings to attest to the validity of their message that Jesus was the Messiah. The surrounding towns would bring the sick to Jerusalem for healing. Even the shadow of Peter passing over a person would heal them (5:15). People were believing and joining on a daily basis. Because of the power of God that was manifested, those who did not desire to become a part of this new group feared and respected them.

Sharing what they possessed meant that someone had to distribute the resources to those in need. A complaint arose that Hebrew widows were preferred in the distribution of food compared to Grecian widows. The Twelve then made a decision to have people selected to do that work, men full of the Spirit and wisdom.

I seriously doubt that the Twelve had any intentions of short-changing the Grecian widows. Most spats in the church come from misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Instead of defending themselves and being offended, the Twelve turned the work over to whomever the people chose. In doing so they established a new office in the church, deacons. Deacon literally means one that serves tables. It expanded to all physical matters, but the intent is to leave the pastor/teachers free to stay in prayer and the ministry of the word. It did not indicate that they are any less spiritual, simply that they had a different function in the body. The only two requirements were that they be full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Does your fellowship have those that take care of the physical so that your spiritual leadership can focus on the Word and prayer? If you are a spiritual leader, are you trying to do it all?

Remember: Let everyone find their calling and function so that the body will be healthy.