Please read Acts 7 to understand this post in context.
This chapter has haunted me for a couple of weeks as I have attempted many times to write about it…and this is before our Pastor beseeched my husband to become a deacon this year. After stepping out of full-time ministry into tent-making-volunteer-missions emphasis ministry, the Lord has not led my husband to become a deacon. Although this year was unique with God ordained situations, I was surprised that he agreed knowing that we have a different view of what being a deacon today actually is.
Being a deacon is not a position of power, or of influence, or of really long meetings once a month at church. It is about serving. It is about ministering. It is about being a godly example. Like a pastor, it comes with character requirements. (Read I Timothy 3:8-13.) Although the word “deacon” does not appear in this chapter, most theologians recognize Stephen and the other 6 chosen in Acts 6 to be the first group of deacons. I have to wonder if they truly understood the cost; however, when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit as these men were, God’s power overcomes anything our adversary can throw at us.
Stephen does not defend himself against the false accusations of blasphemy and rabble-rousing. Instead, he gives a beautiful, precise and effective narrative of their history. Every person in that council prided themselves about their knowledge of their rich heritage – and Stephen used it against them labeling them as “stiff-necked, uncircumcised and resistant to the Holy Spirit” as his history lesson proved them to be. They were outraged!
Stephen’s boldness and meekness are inspiring. Though the Spirit’s power, we all have the ability to be as bold and as meek as Stephen was in front of a council of angry people. Acts 6:15 records Stephen’s countenance looked like the face of an angel. It is possible to stand up for truth and not be angry or be syrupy sweet to hide our true feelings. Stephen spoke the truth in love and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and he paid the ultimate human price. What a beautiful and practical example he has left us on what it is like to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit!
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.