Do all to the glory of God
Acts 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. 10 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. 13 They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15 And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. There is perhaps no greater example of that in all of scripture than the example of Stephen in today’s text. Stephen was chosen to serve food to widows. He wasn’t numbered among the apostles. He was not in the spotlight, preaching and teaching. The text says: Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. As Stephen served the food, he also paid attention to those whom he served. He saw and heard their needs. Look again at the qualifications for those who were to be selected as servants: Select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. When Stephen saw the needs of the people, he yielded to the Spirit and the Holy Spirit in him and through him performed the signs and great wonders. Stephen didn’t direct the people to the apostles. He was confident that the same Spirit was in him. In John 7:38 Jesus says: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” Those same living waters flow from us if we believe in Jesus. We too have the same Spirit as the apostles. We may have been selected for a common task or responsibility, but whatever we do, we should do it to the glory of God. How many people does the Lord bring us in contact with every day as we perform our normal tasks? How many need the power of the Holy Spirit and the living waters of Christ to flow into their lives?
We see again, in the account of Stephen, that as with Jesus Himself, the doing of good works will not always earn favor in the sight of people. The text says: Some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” In John 10:32 Jesus said: “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” In Matthew 10:16-22 Jesus says: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” In John 15:18-25 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
Like Stephen and like Jesus, we should not work for the glory of people. Instead, Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. In John 17:1, when Jesus prayed on the night that He was betrayed, He said: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.” Jesus glory was in the cross. It was through His sacrifice that He glorified God and was glorified. For us, our ultimate glory is not the praise or acknowledgement of people. It is that we would hear the words of our Master, as Jesus says in Matthew 25:23: 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!'
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, may all that I do be for Your glory. May I yield to the Spirit, allowing the living waters You put in me to flow to those around me. Father may You be glorified in me. Amen.