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July 07, 2013

one accord

[Our church is doing a study of the book of Acts, and various members of the congregation were asked to share thoughts and take-aways. I had Acts chapter 6, and wanted to do something a little different. So this is a stab at historical fiction based on the books of Acts and a little contextual study. You may want to take 30 seconds to read Acts 6:1-7, which is a bare bones account of how the 12 apostles were able to successfully handle diversity and conflict amongst the Jews from Jerusalem and the Greek speaking Jews from other areas.]

Andrew removed his sandals, leaned back in the chair, and closed his eyes. After all the walking, standing, speaking, not to mention the questioning and flogging in the previous weeks, the dark and quiet solitude was bliss.  The sound of someone calling his voice, at first faint then growing louder, invaded the silence. He took a deep breath and sat up.

"John - in here.”

John entered the room with a deliberate pace.

“The Hellenists among us are complaining again, claiming their widows are being overlooked in the daily provisions. Haven’t we been through this? Our Hebrews are incapable of being honest much less gracious.”

Andrew stood, paced a few steps with his head down, and leaned against the doorframe. “Do you know that this is happening intentionally?”

“Well, no. But there is already concern and grumbling about who’s doing how much of the work- There are rumors of leaving our widows and disabled behind and letting Rome to care for them.  But Andrew, He emphasized that we are to be...”

“…of one accord.” Andrew and Johns voices combined.

“You’re right. We need to take this seriously. Are the others nearby? Call them in.”

John waved outside to Peter, who led the rest of the apostles into the room and formed a crude circle.

Peter spoke first.“We could determine who’s treating the Greeks unfairly and teach them some…cultural sensitivity, if you will.”

The suggestion was met with a few murmurs and shuffling of feet. Andrew playfully punched him in the shoulder. “Have you ever wondered what Jesus would do, Peter? I’m sure it’s not that! The problems are more likely due to a simple language barrier than anything else.”

James stepped in. “Some of us can spend a few weeks with the Hellenists to experience what’s happening. We could work on their communication skills and distribute things appropriately ourselves.

There were some head-nods of agreement and low grumbles. Peter shook his head and stepped forward. “Do they all remain infants while others perish? Must we do everything ourselves?” None of the apostles answered, knowing there would be more from Peter.

Truly Brothers, our time grows short. We have received our warnings and our beatings. What do you suppose is next, when any one of us continue to proclaim the truth?”

Phillip jumped in. “I had an idea. We can appoint seven of the best of them to a committee. That would get the work done and have everyone represented appropriately.” There was a general consensus on the idea, and a few of the apostles quickly threw out names.

“Procurus and Antioch.”


Timon was later added to the committee. But beyond that the apostles couldn’t reach agreement, or nobody came to mind.

“We can’t expect all the work to be carried out by four.”

“Well, who else do you have in mind?,” said John.

“I think Calev would do a pretty fair job for the Jews.” Some of the apostles laughed.

“Calev? Filled with the spirit, but empty of common sense? And courtesy. What has Calev done to lead anyone?


“Well he certainly loves everyone. And he can hardly make a decision on what foot to put forward first. Maybe Greek and Hebrew will ALL unite against Josephus when the widows are regularly fed three hours late.”

Well how about Noam? He’s the most intelligent Jew standing. I know he tends to be…a little direct. And completely reasonable... well he would run a tight ship.”

“ Mr. Personality? If you want the followers of Jesus split right in two, put Naom on the committee.”

James spoke out.

“Do we really know the sincere men, sold out to the way of Jesus, but with a sound mind, maturity, and level headedness? To handle such a sensitive manner without this blowing up, we need people who are full of the Spirit and full of wisdom. Besides, if the disciples choose for themselves, they’ll have nobody to grumble against.”

Following this the apostles quickly reached agreement and retired for the night. The next morning they called a meeting for all. Andrew stood on a small bench before all the assembly.

 “We have come to understand the recent problem of food distribution. We assure you that this is important to us, and we want to do everything we can to find an acceptable solution. But at this time it would not be right for us twelve to ignore the ministry of the Word in order to wait on tables. So choose for yourselves, from among all of you, seven men who are best suited to the task, trustworthy, full of the Spirit and of wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them, so we may give our attention to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

As it turns out, this pleased the whole group, enabling them to act in one accord. Instead of arguing amongst themselves and making a poor name for the sake of Christ, they were able to move on with their lives and attend to the work before each of them.

And the good news of God spread…


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