Whenever anyone seeks to advance in a career, hobby or trade, you must separate yourself from other potential candidates. When milk sits in a refrigerated container and cream is added, it separates itself and floats on top of the milk. This is what individuals must do when applying for a job, entering a contest or pursuing a professional career, rise to the top. When signs of greatness are present, people begin to receive the recognition that they deserve.
Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 But we will [continue to] devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word,” Acts 6:3-4.
Sometime after 30 AD, church growth exploded as more and more souls entered into personal relationships with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10. The only downside to this movement was that the widows of Greek speaking Jews began to be neglected. These Hellenistic Jews complained to the twelve disciples hoping that the church could begin to provide for their needs. A meeting was scheduled to address this concern. The end result was a selection process to choose seven godly men to oversee the distribution of food to the poor and needy.
The suggestion pleased the whole congregation; and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith [in Christ Jesus], and [filled with and led by] the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (Nikolaos), a proselyte (Gentile convert) from Antioch. 6 They brought these men before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them [to dedicate and commission them for this service], Acts 6:5-6.
A first century doctor observed three special qualities from one man who separated himself from everyone else. According to the passages above, Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit, faith and wisdom. If you take these observations in the context of Galatians 5:22, the fruits of the Holy Spirit were naturally flowing out of Stephen. These traits of integrity are a clear sign of the fullness of God. Anyone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, Matthew 6:33, will begin to exude the fullness of God.
by Jay Mankus