There is not an abundance of biblical material when it comes to Stephen. His story is almost totally limited to Acts 6 &7. However, what is revealed is that Stephen is a man who made a difference—he made an impact on others. He made an impact on his community as well as the world. As a result of Stephen’s life and death, many positive things began to happen. According to Acts 8:1-4, Philip’s evangelistic tour began as a result of Stephen’s death. According to Acts 11:19-21, the church was founded in Antioch of Syria as a result of Stephen’s death. His life and death mattered! Stephen made an impact!
Do you desire to make an impact on others for good and for the glory of the Kingdom of Jesus?
Stephen was well respected (Acts 6:3). He was full of faith, the Holy Spirit, God’s grace & power, and able to perform miracles (Acts 6:5, 8). But that is not all. Consider the following four ways in which we can use Stephen as an example for how to make an impact on others.
Stephen was ready to SERVE.
The first task the men of Acts 6:1-7 were to be involved in was food service for widows. They were to take care of the ones who were being overlooked (cf. Isa. 1:17; James 1:27). Evidently, these men understood the need for “role players.” No championship is won without them. Everyone has a job to do—and all jobs are important (1 Cor. 12:12-31). Someone has said, “The desire to serve Christ is translated into the reality of serving others.” Want to make an impact? Be ready to be a servant!
Stephen was ready to defend the TRUTH.
There is such a thing as the truth. It matters what we believe and teach. Believing a lie will destroy
us (1 Kings 13:18). Not loving the truth will destroy us (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Sometimes what must be done is to awaken people to their sinfulness (Acts 7:51-53). There must be honest conversations about sin, hell, obedience, worship, grace, truth, et. al. Want to make an impact? Be ready to defend the truth!
Stephen was ready for DEATH.
Can you imagine speaking the words he spoke at death (Acts 7:59)? It was just like our Lord (Luke 22:46; cf. Ps. 31:5). All of us will exist somewhere forever. But because of Jesus, how he died and subsequently conquered death, we don’t have to fear death (Heb. 2:14-15)! We can meet death with peace and dignity. We don’t have to fear facing eternity because Jesus is there. Want to make an impact? Be ready for death!
Stephen was ready to FORGIVE.
His final words were about forgiveness (Acts 7:60). Again, he was modeling himself after Jesus (Luke 23:34). We must remember that heaven is a place not only for forgiven people, it is the home of forgiving people (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:31-35). Want to make an impact? Be ready to forgive!