There is this guy in the New Testament named Phillip…No not the Phillip that was a disciple of Christ, the other Phillip, who along with his buddy Stephen, were among 7 men chosen by the disciples to wait tables. You see, during the early ministry of the disciples, the church body had grown and there was disagreement among some of the church-members regarding the food ministry. It was apparent that it was becoming too much for the disciples to handle, so they chose 7 men from the early church and assigned them that task of setting the food on the tables. They were the “Table Deacons”.
Doesn’t sound very spiritual, does it?
God is looking for men and women whose hearts are right with Him, so that He can place and assign them where they can make a difference in the Kingdom and in the Body of Christ. These”Table Deacons”, are not mentioned much in scripture, some of them did not live very long, but their lives dramatically affected eternity.
Let’s look first at Stephen. After accepting the job as a deacon in the food ministry, God moved mightily upon Stephen as he submitted himself to the task of feeding the poor. The Word of God tells us that Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But spiritual leaders outside the Body of Christ began to oppose him. At first they tried to argue with him, but the Spirit of God spoke through him and they could not stand up to that. So they began to lie to the public saying that he was blaspheming Moses and God.”
So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. Stephen began to speak, and after hearing his words, the crowd went wild, becoming a rioting mob full of catcalls and whistles. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed—he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side. He said, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and I see Jesus, standing at God’s side!”
The crowd began to yell, boo and hiss, and the voices of the mob drowned him out. Now in full anger and riot, they stampeded Stephen, dragged him out of town and stoned him to death with rocks. As the stones fell down upon him taking his life, Stephen prayed, “Master Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.
Stephen, after his humble appointment in the food distribution ministry, waiting tables came under such anointing of God that he performed many signs and miracles. Stephen became the first man to physically see Jesus standing beside God in Heaven. The name Stephen is known in Heaven and on Earth as the first martyr of the Body of Christ.
And then there was his buddy Phillip. In Acts the 8th Chapter we read that Phillip had graduated from waiting tables and was a full-fledged evangelist preaching in Samaria. The Bible tells us that Phillip preached the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, they rejoiced in what God was doing and they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed by his ministry, and evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. Because of Phillip and the gospel he preached, there was joy in the city. I would imagine that Phillip had no idea when he was appointed to wait tables that God would turn a whole city on its ear by his ministry and his preaching of the gospel.
Both Stephen and Phillip’s lives were centered in Christ. They were not preoccupied with making great names for themselves or expanding their reputations as great preachers or miracle workers, they were humble servants, waiting on tables. Their concern was that they were doing the will of God. And in doing His will, God raised them up to great heights in the ministry, as Stephen became the first martyr, and Phillip the first Evangelist.
God still continues to seek those who have the humble spirit of a servant; He seeks those who are willing to be “Table Deacons” that Christ might be glorified. God especially in these latter days, is looking for a people whose hearts are right with Him, so that He can place and assign them where they can make a difference in the Kingdom and within the Body of Christ. One reason that there has not been more revival within the Body of Christ is not that God is unwilling or unable, but that He is looking for a people who are willing to have their hearts and lives changed from that of being self-centered, self –gratifying, and self-promoting; to a people who submit their lives into His hands, for His purpose.
If that means spiritually, or physically waiting on tables and allowing God to raise us up to where He wants us to be, we have to cheerfully accept that appointment. Then even as it was said of Stephen and Phillip, it might be said today in 2010 of the Body of Christ…”Believers are performing amazing miracles and signs among the people, and many are healed and there is joy in the city”. In the name of Christ my Lord, this is my prayer for the church.