36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas). Her life overflowed with good works and compassionate acts on behalf of those in need. 37 About that time, though, she became so ill that she died. After they washed her body, they laid her in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two people to Peter. They urged, “Please come right away!” 39 Peter went with them. Upon his arrival, he was taken to the upstairs room. All the widows stood beside him, crying as they showed the tunics and other clothing Dorcas made when she was alive.
40 Peter sent everyone out of the room, then knelt and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and raised her up. Then he called God’s holy people, including the widows, and presented her alive to them. 42 The news spread throughout Joppa, and many put their faith in the Lord.
There are many ways of serving others. There’s no record of a church building in the city of Joppa, but the church was there. Exhibit A was a marvelous seamstress named Tabitha (Dorcas—meaning “gazelle”--in Greek). There’s no evidence that she ever preached a sermon, but God equipped her to sew, and gave her a heart for the poor. The “show and tell” time in verse 39 is a deeply touching scene. Tabitha lived her faith in such beautiful ways that God used Peter as a channel to allow her to keep living it longer.
In 2018, Resurrection’s Bookmobile distributed over 62,000 books! You can join the United Methodist Women and our Partner Schools Ministry for a Scholastic Book Fair in support of Resurrection’s Bookmobile, Saturday and Sunday after all worship services in Leawood. All other Resurrection locations can participate by purchasing books online or by donating gently used books.
Offer. Think about the things that you love to do. What brings you joy, and how might you be able to share that joy with someone else. Love kids – offer babysitting to a neighbor or friend. Love to knit – make a shawl and bring it to the hospital. Love to fix things – connect with a neighbor and ask if there is something around the house that you could fix.
What brings me joy? How might I share that joy in the form of service?
Serving others helps build relationships that honor and glorify God. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Gather your family for a late night drive out to the country. Find a place where the sky is dark and the stars shine through the darkness. Depending on the weather, place blankets on the ground, lie down and look up at the sky. Take the first moments to simply be still and give thanks for God’s beautiful creation. Invite everyone to try and count the stars. Discuss the difference the stars make in the night sky. Imagine together what the sky would look like without any stars.
Read the above quote from King and Matthew 5:14-16. Share ideas about ways each of you can be lights in the darkness for God by serving others. Pray and ask God to help you.
Lord Jesus, help me never to think, “All I can do is ____________, and that doesn’t matter.” Make my life, and whatever abilities I have, count as much for you as Tabitha’s lovely life of service. Amen.
Blessings in Every Stitch
When I think about Dorcas, I think about all the women in my life who have used their hands in service to bless others. My grandmother made sure that my mother and her sisters developed skills they could use to care for people in their lives. I have quilts made for me by Mother, Aunt and Grandmother that I can wrap myself in and feel the love that was stitched into every piece of their work. Growing up my mom, Brenda, made it a priority to try to teach me the domestic skills, that her mother had taught her, so I could use the skills to serve others.
I remember growing up having to sit on a specific stool in my mom’s kitchen while she would cook. I remember asking her why I had to sit and watch her prepare the meals, and my mom responded that I needed to learn to cook so I could care for my future family and the people in my life that I love.
From baking brownies for every tennis match of mine in high school, to sewing quilts for children in foster care, to crocheting hundreds of potholders to donate to the annual church bazaar to help raise money for missions, Brenda (like Dorcas) uses her domestic skills as her way of serving the Lord.
I think one powerful part missing from these short eight verses of Dorcas’ story (which I totally would have included in this chapter in Acts if I had been in charge of editing) is Dorcas’ reaction once she was resurrected. Stop and think of how she must have felt opening her eyes and being surrounded by those she had cared for, all holding the tangible and intangible representations of her life’s work of love and service. Think of all the potholders that would be held up for Brenda! Think of all the items that others would hold up for you.
What can we do to put love into every effort we make? A simple crocheted potholder can be an act of service when love is sewn into every stitch. I use the skills my mom taught me in her kitchen to bless others by delivering a hot cooked meal to a family going through a tough time, surprising someone who needs a smile with a baked pastry and coffee, or sharing a charcuterie board (that could make Martha Stewart herself jealous) with friends.
So I encourage you to look at the life skills God has given you. Find the unique ways that you can use these to serve others! My Mom would tell you that she does all the things that she does for others because she feels genuine joy using her skills serving. God needs your work in this world, but also wants you to feel the joy that comes with serving others!
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