“神的道兴旺起来；在耶路撒冷门徒数目加增的甚多，也有许多祭司信从了这道。” – 徒 6:7
“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.” – Acts 6:7
Look at the last part of today’s verse again: “a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” This had never caught my attention before.
I had to do some digging to better understand the impact of this “large number of priests.” There were about 18,000 priests living among the Jews at this time. Wow! Their role was to serve in the temple, an actual physical space. Day after day they had priestly duties for taking care of the needs of the people around them. The task was enormous and exhausting.
A large number of those priests were drawn to faith in Christ because they saw a group of people sharing the load of caring for the poor among them—and this was clearly not being done out of obligation. Jesus’ followers were doing this out of genuine love. That falls directly in line with being “devoted,” a trait we pondered a few days ago. As Jesus’ followers served diligently to meet people’s needs, many of the priests also found their way into this new community of faith.
Of course, the church needs to balance its inward care with reaching out to others, but if the church becomes known as a community marked by care and love, that is something beautiful that others want too.
Lord, what role do you want me to fill in your community? How can my gifts and passions help to shape the community of faith so that others may come to know Jesus? Amen.