Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tabitha, aka Dorcas

The Bible gives us a clear portrait of a Godly woman in Acts 9:36-43.  Her Hebrew name was Tabitha, but she was also known by her name in Greek, Dorcas.  Both names mean a gazelle, or graceful creature. The Bible tells us she lived in the seacoast town of Joppa,  she was a certain disciple of Jesus, and she was full of good works and almsdeeds.  Did you notice that her physical appearance is omitted from her description in the scriptures?  The Lord always places emphasis on the inner person rather than the outward appearance.

Tabitha is distinguished in the Bible for her acts of kindness to the poor.  Not only did she give charity (alms), she was a great doer of charitable works (almsdeeds).  Naturally, the people of Joppa were devastated when this great lady became sick and died. They sent two men to a nearby town to bring the Apostle Peter in hopes God would raise her from the dead.  When Peter arrived he was shown to the room where the body of Tabitha lay. The poor widows that Tabitha had cared for were now weeping and heartbroken over the loss of this dear woman.  They began showing Peter the clothing that Tabitha had made for them.  As the man of God, Peter used this opportunity to further the cause of Christ in that place.  Peter believed in the God that had power over life and death.  He put the weeping widows out of the room, knelt down and prayed for God to intervene. Aloud Peter said, "Tabitha, arise".  She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up!  Peter then led her from that cold room of mourning  into the warm and loving arms of the widows and saints that had been so grieved at her passing. But verse 42 reveals the true reason Tabitha was raised from death:  "And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord."  Tabitha honored God in every aspect of her life and God honored her by lengthening her life.  Her life and her arising from death were instrumental in bringing many lost people to salvation in her hometown.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the story of Tabitha; however, I want to focus on how she used her talents to honor the Lord.  

The Lord bestows talents to every one of His children.  

If you are a child of God, you have at least one talent that is unique to you.  Finding that talent and then using it in His service is where the real blessings of life come.  You see, God gives the talent and then leaves it up to us whether we use it for His honor and glory.   The Bible teaches that the more you use the talent God gives, the more you will receive.  In the reverse, not using the talent God gives will result in the loss of that talent. (Matthew 25:14-29).

The proper use of one's talents pleases the Lord.   

Talents must be used for God's glory and the benefit of others in order to please the Lord.  At the heart of this story, Tabitha pleased the Lord by using her sewing talent for the benefit of those less fortunate than herself. It's possible she could have made a very good living for herself as a seamstress. However, she chose to give her garments to the poor and depend on God to supply her needs. 

Using one's talents reveals a servant's heart.

The Lord uses those of His children that are willing to do what they can for others.  The Lord doesn't expect anyone to do more than they are capable of doing.  However, a servant's heart will go the extra mile to help others with faith in the Lord that He will supply whatever is necessary to accomplish the task.  I picture Tabitha as a busy woman, always looking for ways to use her talent. I see her as anything but an idler or time-waster!  (Something I could use some help with!) 

The Lord can use simple talents to do great things in His name.

The wonderful lesson about Tabitha is that I don't believe she ever expected any praise for herself.  The talents shared by an humble person are always noticed by the Lord and rewarded. May the Lord bless you abundantly as you look for ways to encourage others by sharing with them a talent God has given you.                                                                                  
   ~Blessings, Pamelyn

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