Read Acts 6:1-7. The infant Church—still resigned to only Jerusalem—consisted of two major groups. The Hebrew-speaking Jews were born and raised in Israel, a fact they took great pride in. They spoke Aramaic and, perhaps, some Greek. The Hellenist Jews were those whose ancestors had been dispersed from the land in Israel’s captivities, primarily Babylon. These Jews were drawn back to Israel by their religious practice and their expectation of the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom. They would likely not have spoken Aramaic but would have spoken as their native tongue the language of the nation from which they had come. Both groups were present at Pentecost (Acts 2). While these two groups shared a common Jewish lineage and faith background, they had many cultural differences that kept them apart. They probably attended different synagogues and had separate teaching services. There is strong evidence that the “native Hebrews” felt they were culturally superior and even closer to God. The bigoted way their widows were being treated was the last straw. The result of this mistreatment is in-fighting, within the Church.
The apostles showed divine leadership by involving the whole Church in solving the problem. Disciples were called together, apprised of the problem, and given a significant role to play in the solution. The apostles gave clear instructions as to what they required (the choosing of seven men who met certain specific qualifications), but they also gave them freedom in other areas, such as who was to be chosen and how the choice was to be made.
It’s important to note that the apostles did not abdicate responsibility in their decision, but exercised it. They recognized that the leaders of the Church are ultimately responsible for what the Church does or doesn’t do. Thus, they assumed responsibility and took charge of the matter in order to rectify this wrong.
As a result of how this dispute was resolved, the Church continued to grow. The proximity of this “progress report” to the matter of the feeding of the widows suggests that growth continued because the problem was properly handled.
This is how God includes us in His work. He gives clear instruction as to what He expects of us—worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and ministry—but He leaves it up to us to determine the specifics of how we accomplish these important ends.