Not My Problem
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. Acts 6:1
In my work with addiction ministry, I sometimes make the mistake of thinking that everyone should committed to what I’m doing. When they’re not, I’m hurt. It’s important to God and it’s important to me, so everyone should care, right? Then, I meet those who have some other passion and want me to be involved in that. I can’t do everything though, so I decline. Sorry, that’s not my thing. I’ve already got a thing.
It’s true that we cannot be committed to all ministries, no matter how wonderful they are. We’re not responsible to save the world. We’re only responsible to be obedient with the work God has given us. It’s easy though, to use this as an excuse to do nothing. That’s just not my gift. When we use this reasoning to avoid everything, what we’re really saying is, Not my problem. It doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care. Not caring because it doesn’t affect us is the basis of problematic privilege and power.
Today’s passage addresses this concept, describing a conflict that arose in the early church. At the time, those in the church who had a lot, generously contributed to share with those who had little. Apparently, in the daily distribution of food or funds, one particular class of women felt neglected. When this was brought to the attention of the disciples, they could have ignored it. Not my problem. Or, they could have redirected all their energies, away from spreading the gospel, to address the injustice. They made neither mistake though. Instead, they wisely delegated the responsibility to those whom could be trusted to implement justice. They maintained their focus on the mission Christ had given them, without ignoring the discrimination.
There are a few lessons here. First, if we follow Christ, we’re part of his body on Earth. We each have some mission and doing nothing isn’t an option. Second, we cannot do it all. We don’t have to devote ourselves fully to every project that comes along. Third, we cannot simply ignore discrimination, just because it doesn’t affect us. Tolerating injustice in the church, because we’re untouched by it, is an abuse of the power and privilege God has allowed us.