Roberts Liardon tells us that based on the moral guidelines in 1 Timothy 3, deacons were chosen to serve in one of two divisions: to oversee and manage the funds of the church, or to oversee the social welfare of people within the church.
Geneva boasted that it had no beggars, nor were there any sick or afflicted who didn’t have the utmost of care. Each deacon established a hospital management board for his individual community. If a member fell sick, the deacons appointed their choice for a physician or surgeon.
Depending on which was needed, the appointee would either attend to the member in the hospital or in his or her home. This was especially designed for the poor of Geneva. In unprecedented displays of care and concern, members received the best of medical and spiritual care, and Geneva became known as a city of the true Gospel.
What Does the Gospel Mean to You?
You’ve just read that Geneva was known as a city of the true Gospel. Calvin’s organization of the elders and deacons portrayed the true heart of an apostle. The true apostle lives and works for the heart of God to be manifested throughout the world. And what is the heart of God all about? One word: People. Hear me well: The Gospel was given to take care of the needs of humanity, of which salvation is only part.
Roberts Liardon tells us that the Gospel is not given to feed your own personal ego or to give you status in society. It is not given for the eyes of the world to be focused upon you. The heart of God will always be for the needs of the people. It will always be for the hurting to be comforted, for the broken to be restored, for the hungry to be filled, for the lost to be saved, for the depressed and deceived to be delivered, and for the sick to be healed.