“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
The “Full” Man
(Please read Acts 6:3-10)
These passages tell of the appointment of seven men in the early church to distribute provisions to the needy people among them. Great care was taken to select only the best of men to handle this important work, with all seven required to be “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (NIV).
Of the men selected, Stephen apparently was the most outstanding, since his attributes receive special mention in the list of the seven and his story is given considerable length (see the rest of Chapter 6 and Chapter 7). Stephen was full of the Spirit, wisdom, faith, grace and power. What a fine man he was!
Stephen, in his “fullness,” did much more than the tasks for which the seven were appointed to do. He performed miracles among the people and contended successfully with those who argued against the gospel of Christ.
His opponents could not stand up against his wisdom, and they were so vehement that they persuaded some men to testify falsely against Stephen and give them an excuse to stone him to death.
Stephen’s defense stands as one of the great sermons of the Bible. In spite of the reasonableness of his plea, the mob took his life. Even at the end, though, he displayed a forgiving spirit, saying, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Thus he became the first known martyr for Christ, and left all Christians an example of steadfast faith.
If you ever suffer for being a Christian, whether by simple ridicule or active persecution, Stephen’s example should help sustain you and give you hope. Thank God for such a man!