There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.
The other day as I was watching the news, I caught a segment called "Pay It 4ward." In this segment, the network team finds worthy people in our community, highlights their good deeds, and gives them a gift of $400 so they can continue to help others. For this segment, they were highlighting a lady who helped the homeless in the park. She brought them meals, made sure they got help, and lent a listening ear to those who were forgotten. The part of the segment that was my favorite was that this lady belonged to one of our Small Groups at Sagebrush. The news crew actually awarded her the gift during one of their group meetings, and I saw tons of familiar faces.
Had I not seen the news program that day, I would never have known what was going on, and the help and compassion this lady brought to the homeless. Things like this are happening all over our community by people who attend our church. Many of them have the gift of mercy. They are caring for the needs of those who are downtrodden and hurting.
In the first century, there was a woman in the church who had the spiritual gift of mercy. Her name was Tabitha, and as we read in Acts, she was always kind and helping others. If we read into the text, it seems that she was busy making clothing for those who were in need. This lady was so important to the church that after she became sick and died, the early church sent for Peter to come to Joppa. It was there that Peter prayed to the Lord, and Tabitha came back to life. She had such a significant impact on the church that they felt like they couldn't do ministry without her. People who have the gift of mercy and encouragement are equally relevant today.
Theodore Roosevelt used to say, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." What we know, or all the facts that we have about Jesus, shrink in comparison to one person who takes the time to be compassionate and caring. Through being merciful, we build bridges for them to see Jesus. We need more people who have the spiritual gift of mercy, people who can share the right word and encourage those who are weary and broken or care for those who are hurting. When we care for others, it brings life and healing. Who can you care for today?
Every Wednesday, we have a committed group of volunteers who come in to help sort clothing and donations for our Community Connect trailers. People donate items on the weekend, and then we have 20-30 volunteers who sort and pack the trailers. Each month we take these trailers out to Living Free and many of our locations to care for the needs of the broken. This team is filled with people who have the spiritual gifts of mercy and encouragement. If you are looking for a way to care for others and would like to get more information about Community Connect, use the Sign up to Serve button on the Decisions Tab in the Sagebrush app and select Community Connect. In your notes today, take some time to write out some ways you can be kind and caring to those who are poor or in need.
Read Acts 9:32-43 (NLT)
Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.
There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!”
So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Tabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive.
The news spread through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord. And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.
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