“And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.'” (Acts 6:2-3)
As the number of disciples was increasing there was great excitement. But this excitement was shortly diminished by murmuring and complaints made by some members of the church against the apostles. Their complaint concerned the welfare of the widows, and this was an important matter. In ancient times governments saw no need to help the poor and needy. Widows for the most part were among the poorest of the poor. They were unable to earn a living; they had few if any relatives to support them. And so the Church had accepted the responsibility to care for them as part of the work of God’s kingdom. This was probably what attracted many to the church in the first place as the poor experienced first hand the gospel of the Lord as help and comfort to those who did not deserve anything given by loving and zealous Christians in imitation of the Lord Jesus Christ. They had been given: they gladly gave.
Grumbling and complaining are inappropriate for Christians, for what we have been given is undeserved, not ours to demand by right. Salvation and all we have are gifts we do not deserve so we cannot demand special privileges or rank. And grumbling and criticism do not solve anything unless believers come forward to resolve the situation, to take action, to compromise and to do the work of ministry at cost to their own comfort, to their own agenda, to their own rights. That is why when we have a complaint, we would do well to make a suggestion as to how things can be made better and be willing implement that suggestion.
We are called to serve our master’s interests not our own, and this at cost to our own comfort. This is our blessing. We are not to seek the blessing first: this is not our motivation for obedience. If we do seek a blessing we get nothing. The blessing is in the obeying for then we become the Lord’s instruments though whom He works, then we experience His grace, love and power in us. This is because we have done our duty; we have taken up our responsibility with love and compassion.