All church duties are spiritual duties

Jul 2004    

“Voices from Scripture” is a work of fiction based on some references in Scripture to “minor” characters. As the Bible gives us few lines about these people, this series imagines what they would have been like, their personality, and what their thoughts could have been in the situations mentioned. It is hoped that as the different characters and situations come alive, the Bible also becomes more real, and we grow in our faith and discipleship.

Here, we imagine what it was like to be part of the early church in Jerusalem.


Voices from Scripture: Prochorus

MOST of you won’t know me. I’m not famous like Stephen or Philip. But I knew them; in fact, I’d say Philip is my best friend and we’re still in touch, although he’s over in Caesarea and I’m still here in Jerusalem.

The church here isn’t what it used to be during the time we were the Seven. But then, Philip said, now there are believers all over the Empire … isn’t that something?

It was great there were so many of us here in Jerusalem, but, maybe it’s better if we were more spread out, eh? Like leaven in a lump of dough.

Leaven in a lump of dough … mustard seed that grows into the biggest tree and shelters the birds of the air … those are the teachings of our Lord.

We spent a lot of time discussing those teachings, in between distributing the food to the widows. Yup, that was our main job in those days, serving food to the widows.

It was a real honour for me to be asked, as I told the missus. But I was glad to help the church in any way I could, even if it was “just” waiting on tables. I learned a lot then. Like we need to care for everyone in the community, especially those who can’t care for themselves.

Also we need to conduct ourselves honourably among the Gentiles so that they may see our good deeds and glorify God. Then I learned that being a waiter, making sure the food was distributed fairly, now that’s a spiritual task too.

Did I tell you, that day when Peter asked me to do this job? Well, it wasn’t because I had been a farm manager for 10 years, I don’t think he knew that anyway.

You know why he asked me? “We need men of good standing, full of the Spirit and wisdom to wait on tables,” said Peter.

So that’s another thing I learned: all duties in the church are spiritual duties, spiritual wisdom is needed for all duties. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anything special, you ask the missus.

So we were tasked to give food to the widows. But the apostles didn’t have fixed boundaries, that the Seven served food and they preached. Like I said, we spent a lot of our free time discussing their teaching; and I tell you, it was Stephen who taught us.

That Stephen … he would serve tables in the morning, then, when it was all done he’d go to the synagogue and talk to everyone about the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’d often go with him, and picked up a few tips about how to share the message. He was so gentle and winsome in his ways.

They stoned him, you know? Because he said that Jesus Christ is greater than the Temple. I was so scared they’d stone me too, so I ran home. We all ran; some of them ran all the way to the other end of the Empire, see?

But that’s the whole point. With believers everywhere, then there’d be churches everywhere, see?

And wherever we are, we are a shining light. A little leaven in the lump of dough causes the whole bread to rise. (Acts 6:1-9; 8:1-2).

Kwa Kiem Kiok, a member of Trinity Methodist Church, is on sabbatical at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, the United States.


‘We need to conduct ourselves honourably among the Gentiles so that they may see our good deeds and glorify God. Then I learned that being a waiter, making sure the food was distributed fairly, now that’s a spiritual task too.’


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