Furthermore, we learn to live for Christ on earth as we contribute to the work of deacons. The tangible nature of diaconal service can do a Christian immense good. Unfortunately, some Christians live as if the Father has taken them out of the world, which is the very thing Christ did not ask the Father to do (John 17:15). It may be easier simply not to remain on the earth, but the command is to let nothing earthly remain in you (Col. 3:5). Christ teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10, emphasis added). Yet, some seem to believe God’s kingdom has nothing at all to do with this earth. They neglect the will of God for day-to-day living. Deacons cannot afford to function with this gnostic tendency. The stable must be cleaned. The sick need care. Financial problems call for attention. That widow requires food. Deacons must ask: “And why did she get neglected in the first place? Let’s get to the bottom of it with truth and grace, ensuring that all are fed next time.”
Not every Christian will be a deacon, but giving to such work affords every believer the opportunity to recover how to live for the Creator in the world He made. It is no surprise that the men chosen to serve in Acts 6 were required to be full of wisdom. They were lead servants for the church in God’s wisely designed world—“When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, . . . then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always” (Prov. 8:27, 30). A call to live wisely on earth is not a summons to become Bunyan’s Worldly Wiseman. Only the wisdom from above will do (James 3:17). But the wisdom that comes from above is employed on earth. The result is not empty stalls but a harvest of righteousness and peace (James 3:18). Giving to the diaconate serves as a tangible reminder to number our days, serving the Lord and His people while it is yet day.
Generosity toward those in diaconal service fuels the orderly increase of the Word and the church. Deacons do more than put out fires. They not only play defense, but they also play offense. They serve people, and they serve the tearing down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). War requires strategy, skill, organization, and hard work. We do not wage war against flesh and blood; neither are our weapons of the flesh. Nevertheless, war we wage and weapons we wield. Deacons are dutiful men (Acts 6:3). They meet practical needs, resulting in peace, order, and the love that the Apostle John speaks of: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Deacon work adorns the gospel of God and enables ministers of the Word to devote themselves to the Word and prayer.
Reasons abound to give cheerfully and generously to the diaconate. Such giving relieves the saints, increases wisdom, and supports the worldwide advancement of the body of Christ and His Word. The Apostle was right: cheerful giving does far more than we think. “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Cor. 9:12).