The Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God…to wait on tables… (Therefore) choose seven men…known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom… (and) turn this responsibility over to them….” Acts 6:2-4
According to Wikipedia.com, Meals On Wheels originated in the United Kingdom during the World War II bombing raids, when many people lost their homes and were unable to cook. The program has been replicated worldwide, including in the United States. Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization, serving more than five thousand community-based senior nutrition centers. Many sources support the program, including the Older Americans Act. Meals are delivered to shut-ins and seniors, often by other able-bodied seniors, offering nutrition as well as social contact. The program saves money by allowing many to stay at home rather than residing in expensive care centers.
The early Christians had their own “meals on wheels” program in Jerusalem. After Pentecost, the Disciples helped the new believers organize a communal living program. Acts 6 says a conflict arose between the Jews who still followed older Jewish culture and Greeks who emulated their own language and culture. The Greeks felt their widows were not receiving their proper allotment of food. So the Twelve proposed a solution: Stephen, “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (v. 5) was chosen along with six other men, blessed by the Twelve, and assumed responsibility for feeding all the widows. This probably did not mean that Stephen and the Six Sous Chefs whipped up tuna salad sandwiches and fruit cups and delivered them to these dear women. In fact, according to Jack Levison in his book, 40 Days With The Holy Spirit, the men were not chosen for their culinary talents, but rather because they were “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (v. 3). The task of ensuring healthy food for everyone was deemed so important that only good men with great integrity ought to administer the program. (Plus the men had probably never cooked a meal in their lives.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we still treated our elderly and marginalized citizens with that much honor and integrity? I believe the Holy Spirit would want us to!
Caring Lord, kindle in our hearts a desire to serve the underserved. Amen