The fellowship of believers had begun to grow rapidly and it was a multicultural group. There appeared to be inequity when it came to support of the widows along the cultural lines. Out of this the 12, determined they should not stop their work of teaching and leading the church, so they appointed 6 to be in this ministry. One of those chosen was Stephen.
Stephen did more than wait tables and serve the widows. we find Stephen traveling and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The message was obviously a challenge to the status quo of religion in his day. Some people undoubtedly began to follow Jesus because of Stephens words, yet others were disturbed, and wanted to stop Stephen. Out of this false testimony was forwarded and false witnesses were produced. Stephen then finds himself in hot water with the religious people of the day.
Stephen was a change agent. He was challenging the normal pattern of life, and people did not want to be challenged in that way. For some the challenge was more than a matter of church, it was matter of losing income and security. Some of the religious leaders of the day were turning a pretty good profit from the people. Being this change agent got Stephen in some hot water. This is often the case when a change agent is at work. The person who introduces a different way of doing things is often seen as a threat. It is out human instinct to eliminate threats. For those who are change agents the threat is staying the same. So, it is easy to see how conflict would arise. In Stephen's case, he ends up paying with his life. Our price is often not that high, yet we shrink back, Why?