At this point in the game we Christianity expanding. There seems to be two types of Jewish Christian — Judean and Hellenist. A Judean was a Jew who was also a cultural Jew — and likely from rural Judea. A Hellenist would be Jewish by faith and by inheritance but would have absorbed much more of the Greek/Roman culture. Maybe they didn’t even speak Hebrew or Aramaic.
The Hellenists who have converted to this messianic Judaism preached by the apostles (because Christianity is still a reformation/renewal movement within Judaism at this point and not a separate faith or sect — complain that when collections are made of the poor — the poor from Judean Jewish Christian families are getting a bigger share than the poor from Hellenist Jewish Christian families.
The solution — provided by the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples — is a division of labour. This inner circle will expand the circle of people who minister but at the same time reserve the office of prayer, teaching and preaching to themselves. This will ultimately lead to the three-fold order of ministry we know in traditional church structures: deacon-priest-bishop.
So what’s going on. The group grew so fast the original leadership became overwhelmed. They neglected the duties of care for the poor in favour of teaching ministry. And the neglect broke down — whether consciously or unconsciously along ethnic lines. The solution of sharing power — but it was this inner circle that got to decide this — and they reserved the teaching function for themselves creating a situation where teaching is a superior ministry to feeding the poor.
What this warns me about — I tend to favour the teaching function myself. I need to be mindful that my calling doesn’t make me a superior Christian to those who work for justice and change.
We also need to be aware that having the spirit doesn’t make us infallible. We may have gifts of healing and miracles and spectacular teaching or preaching — but we remain human — with all our limitations. Humility is a more important virtue for leaders than for the rest of us.