They wanted him to wait on tables.
That was the big honor they had been talking about for the last half hour? Stephen glanced around the room at the six other men they had asked to do this. Some of their faces were downright incredulous. One man couldn't have looked more shocked if one of the disciples had walked up and spit in his face.
Peter smiled ruefully at them. "You are good men, full of good repute, and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We have appointed you to this duty for that reason. I realize it seems underwhelming...but even Jesus said he came to serve, not be served. After praying and fasting, we believe you seven to understand the difference."
Stephen's face heated slightly at the meaning behind Peter's words. Yes, even Jesus came to serve, and serve he did. If Jesus was worthy to serve, wasn't he also worthy to serve God by literally serving? What made this any less important? What made this any less of an opportunity to be used by God? What made this any less of a ministry?
Based on Acts 6:1-6
"Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them." Acts 6:1-6
These men were counted worthy to serve. Yes, serve. They weren't picked to run the church or become the new apostles. They were picked because they understood what it meant to serve.
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
I think that so much of our time and energy is focused on the "big" stuff. It's focused on the titles and the glory when really, serving God is about none of that. It's about the serving.
Look at Stephen. In the rest of Acts 6 you see that Stephen became a mighty man of God. The Bible says he was "full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people." It's not because he was pompous, or decided that he ruled the church. It's because he willingly served. Goodness, these men were originally picked to serve tables! And if you've ever done that, then you know that it's no easy job. However, these men were counted worthy to do the work. Not only that, they counted themselves worthy to serve.
What about us? Are we focusing on the serving God by serving? Are we willing to wait on tables?
V. Joy Palmer