June 15 – Wait, who? – Dorcas

Read Acts 9:36-43

Years ago, I remember driving by a funeral home as someone was unloading a model airplane from their vehicle and carrying it inside. My guess is that airplane was placed on display as something a deceased loved one had made or at least enjoyed. It was likely something important to the one who had passed…perhaps even something, for which he/she was known.

What objects would your loved ones place on display at your funeral? What kinds of things would depict your values and priorities?

The eight verses from today’s reading seem to describe a similar scenario. A woman named Tabitha (also called Dorcas) had passed. As people assembled for what might have been the first-century equivalent of calling hours, women are there with articles of clothing that Dorcas had made by hand. But she was more than an accomplished seamstress. That clothing was apparently reflective of her reputation as one who did good and who helped the poor (v. 36). She probably made clothing and gave it to those in need…like the mourning widows in the upper room that day.

Still, that isn’t all that Dorcas is known for. She is also known as one raised from the dead by the power of Jesus. Even though we only read a few verses about her here, the story of her life spread beyond the widows gathered throughout the entire community there in Joppa. As a result, many people believed (v. 42).

Can we go back once again to where we began? What is it that you are known for? What will you one day be remembered for? Model airplanes? Your sports fanaticism? Your contribution to your work? Your commitment to Candy Crush?

Even if you are committed to doing things that help others, you must be careful. In the end, Tabitha’s good works stemmed from more than a humanitarian bent. Her help of the poor served a greater purpose than mere philanthropy. She was a follower of Jesus (v. 36). Ultimately, both her generosity and her resurrection brought fame to the name of Jesus.

What are you known for? Who gets the credit for it?

Steve Kern

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