The offices deacon and deaconess are very important in the service of the Assembly of Called-Out Believers. Ministering to God’s people in word and deed is a serious responsibility for a one to take on, and it should never be done lightly.
Qualifications for Avedim (Deacons) are as follows:
1 Timothy 3:8-13 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith”.
The word “deacon” essentially means one who is willing to “serve”. In the Hebrew this word is “Avad” עֲבֵד in the singular (meaning servants in the plural), and used in Ezra 5:11 saying, “We are the servants of the God of Heaven and Earth and build the house [of the Lord]…”. In the Greek word group consists of diakoneo [diakonevw] (occurring thirty-six times in the New Testament) meaning to serve or support; diakonia [diakoNIVa] (occurring thirty-three times in the New Testament) meaning service, support, or ministry; and diakonos [diavkono”] (occurring twenty-nine times in the New Testament), meaning server, servant, or deacon. The word group as a whole is scarce in the Septuagint, occurring approximately nine times.
The word has both a general and technical sense in the New Testament. It may simply refer to any type of service or personal assistance performed for another. Eventually, the word came to mean “to serve” in any capacity.
The idea of “serving others” was not popular among the Greeks. The Jews on the other hand found nothing inherently distasteful about service and believe it is our shared responsibility to repair the world through acts of kindness service called “Tikkun olam”. It was Yeshua the Jew who raised the consept of selfless service to an even higher level. He used the word as an expression of his humiliation in reflecting God’s character of selfless love and exemplified it in giving his life in suffering and death as a willing act of service to God and man ( Matt 20:28 ; Mark 10:45 ). Thus the word takes on the sense of selfless loving action for others, especially in the community of faith, which is rooted in and founded upon Divine love as seen in the atonement of God through the spotless Lamb.
In this light, Paul could speak of being a servant of the covenant ( 2 Cor 3:6 ), of righteousness ( 2 Cor 11:15 ), of the Annointed one( 2 Col 11:23 ; Col 1:7 ; 1 Tim 4:6 ), of God ( 2 Cor 6:4 ), of the gospel ( Eph 3:7 ; Col 1:23 ), and of the assembly of the faithful ( Col 1:25 ).
We are very thankful to all our Avedim Deacons and Deaconess’ who so faithfully serve reflecting the selfless love of Hashem in action!