The Deacons of a
Prayer: For the finances of the church, that God will put it into the
hearts and minds of the people, not only to tithe, but to make offerings
unto the Lord.
As deacons were appointed at first "to serve tables," it may be well to
say, there are three tables for them to serve: 1. The table of the poor.
2. The table of the Lord. 3. The table of the pastor. The pecuniary
supplies to enable them to serve these tables must be furnished by the
church. The custom of taking a collection for the poor when the Lord's
Supper is administered is a good one, and worthy of universal adoption. It
is suitable at the close of the solemn service to think of the pious poor,
whom sickness or some other misfortune may have kept from the sacred
As some pecuniary expenditure is necessary in furnishing the table of the
Lord, this should be made through the deacons; and it is eminently proper,
though not indispensable, for them to wait on the communicants in the
distribution of the elements,
Deacons must serve the pastor's table. It, is not for them to decide how
liberally or scantily it shall be supplied. The church must make the
decision, and enlarged views should be taken when it is made; for the
energies of hundreds of pastors are greatly impaired by an incompetent
support. The pastor's compensation having been agreed on by the church,
the deacons must see that it is raised and paid over. They may appoint one
of their number acting treasurer, who shall receive and pay out funds; but
it should never be forgotten that deacons are by virtue of their office
the treasurers of the church. To appoint any other member to act as
treasurer is not warranted by Scripture.
As all pecuniary expenditures are to be made through deacons, they should
at the end of every year make a report to the church what moneys they have
received during the year, how they have been expended, etc. This will keep
everything straight and plain, while it will have no little to do with a
church's influence and efficiency.
Deacons should be appointed for an indefinite period, and set apart to
their office by prayer and the laying on of hands. It is much to be
regretted that many churches hold very loose views on these points. They
attach very little importance to the deaconship, and seem to regard it
very much as a clerkship or a trusteeship. Indeed a few churches, to their
shame be it said, elect their deacons annually; and of one of them it was
once said: "Nearly every male member in it has at some time acted as
deacon." This amounts almost to a degradation of the deaconship. And those
holding these views and indorsing this practice consistently oppose the
ordination of deacons. They see not the propriety of ordaining men to an
office to which they attach so little importance. Let deacons be chosen
for an indefinite period and then let them be solemnly ordained according
to the example given in Acts 6:6. "When they had prayed, they laid their
hands on them" Prayer is appropriate on all occasions, and laying on of
hands is a token of designation to office
Some object to laying on of hands, supposing the design of this ceremony
in apostolic times was the communication of the Holy Spirit. That the
Spirit was sometimes given in connection with the imposition of hands is
evident from Acts 8:17; but the first deacons were chosen because they
were already "full of the Holy Spirit." Therefore the laying on of hands
was not for the purpose of conferring the Holy Spirit, but of designating
to office. This is the object of the ceremony now, and no one who has
scriptural views supposes there is a bestowal of extraordinary gifts.
It is the custom in some places to lay on hands in ordination during
prayer. This is not according to scriptural example. Whenever prayer and
laying on of hands are referred to in connection with each other, as in
Acts 6:6; 13:3, it is evident that prayer was first offered - then
followed imposition of hands to be seen and known as a designation to
office, but which could not without a violation of propriety be seen
during prayer. It is very desirable that all the churches adopt the
practice of ordaining deacons by prayer and the laying on of hands. It
adds to the influence of the deaconship when induction into it is
accompanied by appropriate services.
Discussion by Leader:
1. What the church could do if every member tithed and then in addition to
the tithe, made love offerings to the Lord; how that it would more than
double our finances and enable us to do so much more for the Lord.
2. How that if we do not tithe, it costs more than the tithe in other
ways, to rob the Lord of His tithe.
Parts for Assignment:
1. Name the three tables to be served by deacons and define them.
2. The Pastor's table.
3. The Table of the Lord.
4. The Table of the poor.
5. Deacons and finance.
6. Deacons and ordination; manner; length of service.
1. What kind of a salary should a pastor receive?
2. What expenses does the pastor have that ordinary members do not have?
3. What does "double honor" mean in connection with the pastor?
4. Should stingy, penny-pinching men be chosen as deacons?
5. What about the Table of the poor, should the church take care of all
the poor of a community? Is the church to take care of all the poor of its
own membership? Why not? Widows? Lazy? Worldly?
6. What should the church do before a man is elected and ordained to the
office of deacon?
Midi playing is;
The Longer I Serve Him