Most of us have heard about Mother Teresa. She has helped the needy and has sought to help those who have been outcast, sick and neglected in India. Before there was a Mother Teresa in our century, there was a woman with the same compassion in the day of the Apostle Peter. Her name was Tabitha or some of us know her by Dorcus.
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. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. Acts 9:36-42
This morning I was flipping through the channnels and stumbled upon Pat Robertson’s show. I watched as Pat Robertson presented the great need for the children to be fed in Africa. I know we have seen sences like this on televison before and some of us pass by the channel and others are enriched with compassion for those who are suffering. I am kinda in the middle, my heart is saddened by the sickness and hunger, but I don’t have a strong compassion that motivates me to reach out to the needy like this. (Maybe the business of ministry in my world clouds out or numbs our universal need to help those who are need.)
I am truely amazed by the compassion that God places in the hearts of some of his people. Tabitha was one of those individuals that was motivated by compassion to help the poor. Scripture states that she was “always doing good and helping the poor.” Tabitha was more than a person who saw a need and gave toward the need. She devoted her life to make a difference in the lives of those who were in great need. She gave of her resources, time, and energy to make sure that the people who were created in the image of God had there needs met. These are more than foreign people in need, they are our extended family who are in great need. Who of us wouldn’t do everything possible to help those who were in need in our own families.
The best question I think we could ask ourselves is how can we develop a heart of a Tabitha – which is really the heart of God. Here are some things that run across my mind as I ask myslef this question:
#1. Be an extention of God’s love to those you come in contact with on a daily basis. It may be a your neighbor, someone you have come across as you go to the grocery store. It could be someone you meet on a business trip. What ever the case be open and willing to be an extention of God’s love monetarily, emotionly, and spiritually.
#2. Ask God to begin to give us a heart of compassion. Remember compassion means to suffer. You literally feel the pain others are going through in their life. As this is developed in us, so will our motivation to help the needy.
Tabitha used her abilities, and resources as extentions to communicate God’s love and grace to the poor and the needy. Those who walk in compassion will always be remembered and be a source of inspiriation to all us to never forget what God has extended to us. May we never forget, if it was not for Christ, we too could be the needy of this world.