Read Acts 6:1-7
1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.
2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”
5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.
7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. (NLT)
We can’t do everything. Time doesn’t allow it, and we don’t have the abilities to do all things. So it is wise to sort out what we ought to be doing and what others ought to be doing rather than ourselves.
The early church leaders were getting bogged down in internal church issues. This was affecting their primary ministry of spreading the good news of Jesus. So they gave some responsibility to others to sort out the internal issues. Note that they didn’t regard such issues as unimportant. They didn’t leave them to just anybody, but carefully selected godly people. It was not a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
We have to be careful not to apply a wrong lesson out of this. It is not as if church leaders are not to do domestic church chores. A church leader who is not prepared to help in the kitchen or help tidy up the premises is neglecting Jesus’ teaching about foot washing. We do have to get involved in more ‘humble’ ministries.
But the point is that these are not to take the place of a wider ministry. People who can preach and teach and evangelise ought to give that priority even while helping out around the place. Those who can’t do that ministry of the word can get in and help in such a way as to enable the wider ministry to flourish. As it did in Jerusalem.
Let’s not think this passage encourages preachers to sit in their offices and prepare sermons while others do the hard ‘domestic’ work. It simply tells us that we each need to discern priorities and ensure gospel work goes on whether through verbal proclamation or dishing out food.