In Acts 6:1-7 a problem broke out among the early Christians. It was a dispute over which widows were receiving support and which were not. Often when church leadership receives complaints like these it is easy to see these things as problems. People are upset. Feelings are hurt. Needs are unmet. These things really are problems on the front end. They create tension and a need for change in order to address a particular situation. Most change does arise out of problem issues. We don’t tend to change things that are working, right? So they came up with a solution by appointing men to oversee how the widows’ needs were being met in order to make sure things were done fairly.
Although on the front end this was a problem, the actual processing through of the solution, carrying it out, and coming out on the other side actually became a great opportunity. It is easy to get focused on tensions in a congregation as problems but if things are going to get better we have to shift our thinking to ask what opportunities are actually being presented so that we might further God’s kingdom by the way we address these sensitive issues.
Notice the result of the apostles delegating this responsibility to those seven men, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7). God’s kingdom actually grew because they took a problem and created an opportunity to do kingdom work out of it. Widows got their needs met, the word was preached (6:4), and everything turned out better after this conflict than it had been before this problem came to their attention.
God works like that. He takes problems and creates opportunities for growth. You see that in the lives of so many people in the Bible. We see it in our lives as well. We can all point to mistakes we made that actually turned into opportunities for growth. We can point to the sin in our lives that God has delivered us from. God doesn’t leave us in our problems but creates opportunities for growth in more ways than we can even begin to understand.
So the next time you are faced with a “problem” remember that God may just be priming things up to take things to the next level and bring about renewed growth in the kingdom!