As I was teaching my Sunday School class last week the discussion turned to deacons and the kids found out I am one of the deacons in our church (I don’t make a big deal out of it, I just do it) but the kids were like “wow, you’re a deacon, that’s so cool”. Then one of them asked me what it means to be a deacon. You know that slapped me across the face. Why couldn’t he just ask what a deacon does? That is easy to answer (or at least easier). Deacon’s visit the sick and homebound, serve the Lord’s Supper (I recently officiated my first communion service, I may post the outline soon), help the pastor as needed, and help those in need as much as we can. These are all things a deacon does (and for the most part all Christians should do as well). I gave a trite but true response about the deacon’s responsibilities but it did not really answer the question for them or in my heart of hearts. I do not need to give a deep, theological response (they are 9-12 years old after all) but the meaning somewhat deeper than just the responsibilities.
In the Bible the office of deacon was created by the apostles to serve tables so they can tend to the matters of God. Those who hold the office of deacon need to remember this so we can serve in the spirit of humility (see Acts 6:1-6) they were men of wisdom, full of the Holy Spirit, chosen because they were honest and they were given a job: serve the tables.
Then I think about two of the men chosen: Stephen and Phillip. Stephen spoke boldly the truth and he was stoned to death because of it. Phillip spoke with the Ethiopian Eunuch and led him to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Then he was carried away and was found preaching in other cities (Read Acts 6-8).
When I think about what it means to be a deacon, I am awed that the church would trust me with such a position. Do I achieve their high standards? Not hardly, and as high as their standards are, there is One whose standards are higher who I strive to emulate as Paul says:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:13-14
As I make my feeble efforts to be more like my Saviour, pressing on in the work He called me to do, trying to be what He called me to be, which can only be accomplished by His grace and mercy, and then I can serve as a deacon to bring glory to God. As that is what it means to be a deacon. Service in action with the love of God to the glory of God.
That is the easy part, now by the grace of God to go forward to accomplish it.