Whatever our employment is in this world, there is always a burning desire to glorify Jesus Christ. Whether a waiter, waitress, janitor, or administrator the heart’s desire of a Christian is to spread the Gospel.
The witness of Stephen is one of a man full of the Holy Spirit and who spoke the Gospel with a fiery tongue. Like anyone who is full of the Holy Spirit, he spoke in the name of Jesus Christ with courage to those who were trying to put down the following of Jesus. He spoke Truth to power. “At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.” Acts 7:57-59 He was willing to give his life to make the Truth of Christ known. Stephen was a supervisor in the food industry, and he was put in charge of managing the work of “waiting on tables,” yet he gave his life for the testimony of Jesus Christ. This chapter of Acts explains a little of the background of Stephen.
- Complaints Over the Distribution of Food.
- Administration Established to Oversee “Waiting On” Tables.
- Stephen Chosen as One of the Managing Waiters.
- Word of God Spread Rapidly.
Complaints Over the Distribution of Food.
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,
the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews
because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.”
There was conflict between the Hellenistic Jews and Hebraic Jews. Similar to the cultural change happening in this world today that spills over into the workplace. The conflicts at work relate to those who are for the government changes coming through the mark of the beast and those who remain faithful to our Godly heritage. Schisms at the workplace always compels administrators to change policy to keep operations flowing smoothly. During the day of Stephen, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was powerful, and the followers of Christ could step in to assume control of troubled operations. Today, the schisms are an opportunity for those who govern by the mark of the beast to take control. Stephen was a Godly man who was appointed, along with six others, to deal with the schisms within the food service.
Stephen was among the five thousand who decided to follow the way of Christ through the preaching and teaching of the Apostles. He would be like any of us who are just another face in the crowd. Stephen was brought to notoriety when a cultural dispute broke out between the Hellenistic and Hebraic Jews over the distribution of food. Today, there are constant disputes breaking out over the distribution of resources, and it involves cultural differences.
There is the culture of those that are called the “progressives” or “left wing” who promote a change to the status quo, and they intend to usher in a global constitution rooted in the mark of the beast. There is also the culture of the “right wing” and those who hold to the Godly heritage established on the Gospel of Christ. That divide is seen at the workplace. The dispute about the administration of food was between Hellenistic and Hebraic Jews. A Hellenistic Jew was one who adopted the language and culture of the Greeks, the New Testament was written in Greek. The Hebraic Jews held to the culture and language of the Hebrews. Stephen was a Christian Hellenistic Jew.
The dispute was that the widows of the Hellenistic Jews were being left out when it came to receiving food. The persecution that comes through those who rule by the mark of the beast relates to the ability to receive adequate resources. Especially the prohibition of buying or selling. Those who live by the mark of the beast have plenty and those who reject the mark don’t have so much. As a Hellenistic Jew, Stephen was chosen to be one of the administrators supervising the “waiting on tables.” This was not a political appointment to appease a deprived culture by using the “likeness” of one of their own and having them to say that all is going to be OK. That’s what happened in Daniel 1 when the new government was changing Godly culture by using spokespeople from the traditional culture to appease the people. Stephen was a man full of the Holy Spirit who lived by the teachings of Jesus Christ, he was not a public image reading from a teleprompter.
Administration Established to “Wait On” Tables.
Being full of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles felt a burning desire to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They felt the Holy Spirit grieving within them if they remained to “wait on tables” instead of sharing the Good News, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables.” Stephen and six other men, all full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, were given responsibility over the duties of waiting on tables.
When a person is full of the Holy Spirit, they have that tongue of fire within them ready to glorify the name of Jesus and to make the Gospel message known. Whether the job is a waiter, waitress, janitor, or administrator, the very first priority is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, evangelism on the scale of Billy Grahm doesn’t exist, and not a hint of spreading the Gospel is seen at the US/Mexico border where 166,000 migrants are seen every month. Those who govern by the mark of the beast are quietly killing the Gospel of Christ, grieving the Holy Spirit, and blaspheming God. Yet, there are still the faithful few who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ. They are among the waiters, waitresses, janitors, and other such labor. Because they are filled with Holy Spirit, they feel a need to share the testimony of Jesus Christ. They do not want to neglect the ministry of the Word of God, and with the Apostles they say, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God.”
“So, 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.
Brothers and sisters, 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
and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Stephen Chosen as One of the Waiters.
From the crowd of five thousand people, Stephen is chosen to supervise “waiting on tables.” He wasn’t chosen because he had exceptional waiter skills and experience, he was chosen because he was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, employees and supervisors are chosen because they have exceptional skill, talents, and knowledge while discarding faith and the Holy Spirit. They choose personnel who live by the mark of the beast.
Stephen was a man eager to speak up to glorify Jesus Christ and to make Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension known to everyone. Today, a Christian would be in the unemployment line for violating workplace policies on the proper religious etiquette while at work. Stephen burned within himself to see people coming to the knowledge of Salvation. He was the type of person who would speak Truth to power, he would make it clear that Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords and above all authorities of this world. How many employees or managers do we know at the workplace like that? Stephen would give his life for Jesus Christ, he would be stoned to death because, as a supervisor over a food industry, he spoke Truth to power. Along with Stephen, there were six other men who were Spirit-filled, and they were chosen to supervise the “waiting on tables.”
“This proposal pleased the whole group.
They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;
also, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”
Word of God Spreads Rapidly.
“So, the word of God spread.
The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly,
and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
By living in obedience to the Holy Spirit, “The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly,
and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” The Apostles did not want to grieve the Holy Spirit and the only way to live in obedience to God was to spread the Gospel. All Twelve Apostles started out doing such things as being waiters and supervising the distribution of food. Their intent wasn’t to become world evangelists, they preached and taught the Gospel right where they were. The Holy Spirit prodded them to begin their evangelism while handing over the responsibility of administering food to others. The Holy Spirit was preparing to rapidly increase the number of the followers of Jesus Christ. With the Apostles preparing for their work as world evangelists, the Spirit-filled Seven assumed responsibility over “waiting on tables.” The ministry was branching out with the Gospel being spread at the workplace and throughout public places. New followers of Jesus Christ increased rapidly
Wherever we are, whatever type of employment that we hold, the Holy Spirit prods us to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, to speak about His death as an atonement for sin, to talk about the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead, to talk about Christ’s ascension, and to talk about eternal life that is given to all Believers.
“….to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets,“
‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’”
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Revelation 2:24-25, 3:11