“Seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” Acts 6:3
It’s time to choose your churches head of housekeeping, or perhaps the a groundskeeper. As you sit down to list the qualifications required for the position what are the top qualities? Aptitude for the work, hard worker, self starter, positive attitude, works well with others? Chances are, though, that few of us would add to the list, filled with the Holy Spirit. I mean, how would you even evaluate for that?
Yet, that’s exactly what the apostles did when they made the decision to select the first seven deacons. In fact, there were only three qualifications stipulated: a good reputation and filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. And what exactly was the job? Making sure that there was a fair and unbiased distribution of food to the widows of the early Christian church. And I wonder, given the simplicity of the task, why was the filling of the Holy Spirit considered such an important essential?
It appears that the presence of the Holy Spirit is essential for everything. Our sinfulness has the capacity for corrupting anything. And even when the task is simple, it’s still vulnerable. Only the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives gives us any assurance that our sinful nature will remain in check and not allowed to interfere.
But somehow, it seems, we’ve lost the awareness that we’re sitting ducks for corruption without the Holy Spirit. We don’t place the same emphasis that the disciples did on the value of his presence. Nowhere in any of the interviews I’ve had as a pastor was he even mentioned. And I don’t recall ever placing much emphasis on his presence, when considering anyone, for any position, in any church, when serving on any nominating committee. There have been questions about planning, and aptitude, and track records and that kind of thing. But very little time invested in trying to know if the Holy Spirit is active in the life and what his will might be.
And when you consider that, “the heart of a man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” it seems to me that the only thing that can be relied on, when assessing a persons fitness for any task in the church, is whether or not the Holy Spirit is present, bringing the things of Christ into our lives. Everything else is as just so lipstick on a pigs face. It doesn’t change the fact that you’re a pig. But the presence of the Holy Spirit does change you and you become like Christ. And that’s what the world needs in everything we do