I heard about a little girl who was asked by her parents what she did at church Sunday morning. She said, “Oh, we learned that Jesus walked on water and cast out deacons.”
I heard another one about a deacon who was asked by his pastor to give a testimony at the upcoming homecoming celebration about a deacon of the church who had passed away and had been a great influence in his life. Thinking about his assignment one night at the dinner table, he asked his wife, “Honey, who are some of our dead deacons?” She replied, “Well Jack, you are, for one.”
There are many funny stories about deacons that we tell to get a laugh or make fun of deacon leaders we really love and respect. Many times we pick on those whom we love the most. I can think of a couple of folks here at Grace who not only receive kidding well, but also know how to dish it out. However, the Bible is very serious about what it says concerning deacons.
The word deacon literally means “SERVANT” and is particularly used of people who served tables. Such servants not only brought food to and presented it before the honored guests at the table, they picked up the mess of leftovers, washed the tableware and cleaned both table and surrounding floor afterward. Eating was a messy affair, and the table-servants were charged with the necessary work of keeping the eating place tidy and the people happy when they came to the table to eat.
Paul said of deacons, “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” (1 Timothy 3:8-9). Deacons are to be Godly men who possess a clean reputation and practice loyal devotion to the work of the church. The church is charged with the responsibility to choose them with spiritual discernment and care.
Next Sunday morning you will receive a list of men who have been members of Grace for at least a year and have been chosen by the Leadership Team of our church as qualified candidates for service as deacons. You will be asked to pray over the list and come the following week to church ready to select as your choices for nomination to serve as Deacons here at Grace. The men who receive the most nominations will be prayed with, counseled and offered to proceed with their names presented to the church for election. The church will select 5 men to serve as the Deacon Body here at Grace.
We are not charged with the task of “casting out deacons,” or “raising the dead.” Our task over the next couple of weeks is to pray about who God is setting apart to serve our church table, to make it a happy place for all you gather here, and keep this place where we eat spiritual food free of crumbs and scraps that disrupt the appetites of our people. Ask God to show you who He wants to serve this church as a Deacon.