Full Of It

The Legacy of a Godly Leader


Acts chapter six describes the early church in the city of Jerusalem choosing leaders to serve, in response to emerging discord between believers from different backgrounds. The qualifications and character of these leaders to be chosen were that they would be “full of the Spirit and wisdom.”2 The next two chapters describe one particular leader in detail: Stephen. Stephen’s legacy is reflected in the description of the things that he is full of:
  • “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5)
  • “full of God’s grace and power” (Acts 6:8)

We get a glimpse into Stephen’s heart and spirit in the account of his demeanor as he is being stoned, martyred for the cause of Christ. Even facing death he is still known and remembered as one “full of the Holy Spirit.”3


Another “full of it” leader in the early church is Joseph, a Levite of Cyprus, better known by his nickname “Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement.”

After the death of Stephen, many in the Jerusalem church are scattered. Acts chapter 11 tells us that Barnabas was sent to serve the church at Antioch. As Barnabas serves the church at Antioch the people there assess Barnabas as “a good man,” a servant who is “full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” As he serves in Antioch, “a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”4 Barnabas too is full of the right things.

What About Me?

Now, two thousand years later, as leaders of the missional enterprises God has entrusted to us, what are we “full of?” And what will people remember about us and say about us after we are gone? Hopefully, and prayerfully, we will be known to be leaders full of the same character and depth of spiritual maturity that marked these leaders in the churches in Jerusalem and Antioch – leaders full of the Spirit, full of wisdom, and full of grace and power.

Perhaps, if it’s a reference to the right kinds of qualities, we should all long to be described as “full of it.”

Verse(s) of the Week:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14 (NIV)

In this advent season, as we celebrate the coming of the Word who became flesh, let’s ask the indwelling Christ to fill us with the grace and truth that characterized godly leaders like Stephen and Barnabas.


1 Thanks to Jeff Springer for this article. Jeff is a veteran practitioner of missional enterprise and has several decades of experience leading companies in the hospitality industry.
2 Acts 6:3 (NIV)  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.
3 Acts 7:55 (NIV)  But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
4 Acts 11:24 (NIV)   He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Share your thoughts