Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations provided by the author of this site are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bible, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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In Acts 7-8, Stephen, a deacon (I believe) and evangelist, was stoned. The disciples mourned and buried him. In Acts 12, James, a leader among the apostles, was executed by Herod. The disciples mourned and buried him. However, in Acts 9:36-43, Tabitha (Dorcas), simply a sister in Christ, died and the disciples called Peter in and said, “You have to do something about this.” She held no office. She doesn’t appear to have been a leader. Evangelists, Deacons, Apostles died and they just got put in the ground. But when Tabitha died they had Peter bring her back.
Granted, I don’t really want to be brought back from the dead once I have stepped into paradise and the comfort of Abraham’s bosom. But I do want people to at least wish I was back. So, I learn a great deal from Tabitha about how I want to live to deepen my relationships with others and how to deepen my relationship with God.
Tabitha was full of good works and charity: She didn’t perform the occasional good work. She was full of them. One translation says she abounded in them. It was her way of life. We need to make good works and acts of charity, especially among our brethren, a way of life.
Tabitha sacrificed for others: Who do you think paid for the materials in those garments she made? Whose time do you think she took to make those garments? We need to remember two things. First, she was probably a lot poorer than most of us, but she still sacrificed her goods for others. Second, she had the same 24 hours in every day that we do. She used some of her 24 hours to serve. Do we?
Tabitha didn’t do everything, but she did what she could: There is no indication that Tabitha taught a ladies’ Bible class. There is no indication that she held any Bible studies. In fact, the only indication is that she made garments for people and did other works of charity. She didn’t do everything, but she did what she could. We don’t have to be paralyzed thinking we must do some little bit of everything. Rather, let’s just figure out what we can do well and do it to serve others.
Tabitha didn’t serve everyone, but she served who she could: Tabitha apparently worked for the widows. It doesn’t say any teenagers were in the room. It doesn’t say the preacher was in the room. It doesn’t say the young marrieds were in the room. The widows were there to show Peter all the good works she had performed for them. Too often we get the deer in the headlights look wondering how we will be able to do something for everyone. We need to stop that. At that point, we usually don’t do anything for anyone. We don’t have to serve everyone. We just need to serve someone. Serve the people you can today.
Tabitha didn’t wait for a church program, she just served: Back in Acts 6, the Jerusalem church established a congregational plan to help the widows. There is no indication that Tabitha was merely following some congregationally given assignment to help the widows. She just helped them. We must quit looking around and bad mouthing our leaders because our congregation isn’t doing something for someone. We just need to start serving.
Tabitha served who she could, when she could, doing what she could without being told. If we want to serve God. We need to do the same.