P R E S I D E N T S P A G E
Waiting on TablesReaping Eternal Rewards
In Acts 6, we read the story of the appointment of the first deacons in the early church in Jerusalem. The reason the apostles needed to appoint deacons was that there was dispute between the Hebraic and Grecian Jewish widows concerning the distribution of food. The apostles said, It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables (Acts 6:2, NIV).
Have you ever noticed the unusual qualifications the apostles employed for the selection of people to fill the role of waiting on tables? They directed the congregation to choose men who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.
But apparently their methodology worked. We hear nothing more about this dispute over food. Instead we are told that the church experienced even greater growth and that even some Jewish priests converted to the faith.
It is obvious that God uses the meeting of temporal needs to achieve spiritual results. The lesson for us today is that we need to be most concerned about the spiritual qualifications of those whom we select to meet temporal needs.
Notice also, that even though the apostles did not have the time to wait on tables themselves, they had the time to participate in the selection and dedication of these deacons, and they had the time to pray for them. In other words, the development of other leaders fell within the range of those tasks that constituted the highest and best use of their timewhich was supposed to be devoted to spiritual matters.
Here is the application for home schooling parents.
We are busy peopleas busy as any group of people in America. There are times that we are stretched so thin that we simply do not have the time to meet all of the temporal needs that we encounter. Dont feel guilty about this. Instead, when you encounter needs you are unable to meet, you should look for opportunities to develop other leaders who will be able to move into the gap.
This has an obvious application for those who lead state and local home school associations and support groups. The development of additional leaders is one of the highest and best uses of your time.
However, all home schooling families should consider their children as leaders in the making. When we cannot wait on tables, we should be working for the day when our children can.
The academic instruction we provide our children is one way in which we prepare our children for future service and leadership. But it is far from the most important way. Our ultimate goal for our children should be to raise young men and women who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. When such young people are placed in the path of people with temporal needs, there will often be a spiritual harvest.
When I was running for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia a few years ago, I had an 18-year-old home school graduate who was one of my drivers. He was with me one night as I participated in a town hall style meeting on Outcome Based Education, a hot political issue that year. The meeting was held in a church, but was not a church-related function in any way.
This young man had two tasks that evening: (1) Drive me. (2) Put out literature. He didnt need to be spiritually qualified to do either of those tasks, but he was.
A man wandered in off the street after the meeting had begun. He asked my driver what the meeting was about. He was told that it concerned Outcome Based Education. He had no interest in the topic, but expressed a spiritual need that had drawn him into a church that evening. My driver talked with this man and, a little while later, led him through a prayer to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
If we had selected a driver based solely on the ability to drive and pass out literature, we would have missed the opportunity to help a person with the most important issue of his life. Because this young man had been prepared by his parents and his church for spiritual maturity, his temporal service gave him an opportunity to meet spiritual needs.
Incidentally, this young man, Rich Shipe, is now my son-in-law, married to my oldest daughter, Christy.
When we train our children to know and love God deeply, and to have the humble hearts needed to wait tables, drive candidates, or mow lawns, there is every reason to believe that we will reap spiritual rewards that far exceed our human expectations.