There Shall Be Thimbles of Blessing: Acts 6:7-8
“7) The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. 8) And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts‬ ‭6‬:‭7‬-‭8‬
Ok, let’s have a serious talk. If you want showers of blessing stop coming before God with tiny cups or thimbles! Look at the text!
Things continued to happen in Jerusalem. God’s word was spreading, people were getting saved, the Holy Spirit continued to do great signs and wonders and the staff was expanding. They added the seven to help with the logistics which included property management, feeding programs, housing and event scheduling. They were stretching to keep up with the blessings.
The early church leaders did whatever it took to accommodate what God was doing and anticipate future blessing. They were praying, seeking God and working diligently.
Saint Augustine got it right when he said, “Pray as if it all depends on God; work as it it all depends on man.” We become co-laborers together with Christ. William Carry said; “Attempt great things for God; Expect great things from God.”
Some argue that the early did lots of ministry but were not distracted by building programs. Yet there is a principle that runs through the entire Bible. Whenever God was working, He involved His people in building programs… and they were always very big.
It was true of Noah’s ark. It was true under Joseph in Egypt. It was true for Moses and the tabernacle. It was true for David and Solomon and the first temple. It was also true of Ezra and Nehemiah and the second temple. It is also true of Jesus right now as He has gone to prepare a place for us! God seems to like building programs.
A work of faith is always God sized and not man sized. We often build for hundreds while the number system in the Bible is always in the thousands. When God is at work… it is always big! Our faith should be stretched just to keep up with what God is doing.
The early church initially met on the temple grounds and in multiple home groups for discipleship and teaching. They were creative and used every resource available.
With persecution, the church soon scattered around the world. As they did, they often met in local synagogues until they were kicked out. Eventually local church buildings began to spring up to accommodate the local congregations.
But there is a problem with buildings… they always define our vision in concrete, mortar and walls. They define, shrink and often quench what God desires to do. They become thimbles way too small for the rivers of blessing God wants to pour out.
I’ve seen Gods blessings and anointing end because congregations had no faith to think and act big. God will only fill the size cup we lift up to Him.
I celebrate churches that start in school auditoriums, theaters or huge shopping malls with unlimited space to expand. This is in keeping with what God asked Isaiah; “1) Thus says the Lord, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where then is a house you could build for me? And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1) Our buildings programs define our true view of God!
Have you ever looked at the numbers related to early church growth? In Acts 1:15, there were 120 persons. But then suddenly the Holy Spirit showed up and things changed drastically, rapidly and continually.
In Acts 2:42, there were suddenly 3,120. In Acts 2:47 God was adding to their number daily those who were being saved. In Acts 4:4, the number of men came to be about 4,000. (They were no longer counting women and children) Then here in Acts 6:7; “the number of disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” Someone must have been counting.
So what did the early church leaders do? They got creative and used whatever facilities were needed and available to accommodate gatherings at many times throughout the day and week. They met day by day!
Churches make two mistakes today. They restrict God to time and space! It’s usually a few hours every Sunday morning in our little thimble sized buildings. Then we wonder why God isn’t working in BIG ways! It’s because we’ve limited Him to our small thimble thinking.
Our faith is pathetically small… and that’s usually what we get! Don’t ask God for rivers of blessing while restricting Him to thimble sized time and space. If you want to see God work in BIG ways… then throw away your pathetic little thimble thinking.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global