Acts 9:36-39: "In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room...All the widows stood around [Peter], crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them."
Right now, our church is studying through the book of Acts. It has been a tremendous encouragement to see how regular, every day, ordinary people are used by the Lord to accomplish incredible things for the Kingdom.
Much of the early part of the book is devoted to Peter. It’s not uncommon for people to think of Peter as “super-spiritual” because of what the Lord used him to accomplish in his lifetime. But, as I reflect on the Peter revealed in the Gospels, I discover a man who struggled with a temper, a man who had a big-mouth, and was always having to fish his own foot out of his mouth for having spoken too quickly! And yet, it is simple surrender to the will of the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit that allowed him to be used in such an undeniably powerful way by the Lord.
However, even more encouraging than that, to me, is the story of a lady named Dorcas found in Acts 9. Dorcas was the epitome of “ordinary”. She was an older widow, and the only detail that we know of her life is that she made clothes for people. Here was an older woman who sat in her house and sewed. Her and my grandmother would have gotten along just fine! And yet, when we read of her passing, we read of a tremendous outpouring of sorrow by those in her town. Their sorrow was on a level that you might expect for a government official, or perhaps some local, influential religious leader. All of this for an old widow who wore out her sewing machine.
What was the cause of such an outpouring? It was simple: this woman had a very powerful and impactful ministry in the community. Here was a woman so in touch with the needs of her neighbors, and so in touch with the heart of Jesus Christ, and so in touch with her own skills and abilities that she used each of these to reach deep into the heart of those who lived around her. Typically, we think of those who stand behind pulpits, or those who spend their lives in foreign countries as those who have the most impact for Christ, but what reach a simple servant’s heart that is given to the Lord and seeks to meet the practical needs of others has on people.
As I was encouraged by this Scripture, let me encourage you: let the Lord use you to meet the needs of those that the Lord has placed in your life. Christian service begins with asking the Lord to give you HIS sight for the needs of those around you, and then simply meeting needs with the heart of Christ. Be a “marketplace missionary” in your community. Use those talents that the Lord has given you to have a powerful impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.