Faith, Love & Health

Archive for the tag “giving”

Stephanas

gift 

Have you ever met people who authentically care and show their love for each other by meeting people’s needs?  I have seen snap shot pictures of this in my life.  People in the church making meals for those who have been in the hospital, a teacher who actually cares about how a child learns and gives extra time and attention to see the child succeed, a phone call of encouragement, unexpected gifts for those who are in need, people just showing support by sitting with you as you go through tough times in your life and people using their giftings to help you accomplish a need in your home or life.  This could be as basic as household maintenance to using your area of expertise to help a person reach their desired goal – there are endless possibilities. 

The family that scripture marks as a giving family is the household of Stephanas.  We see that from his conversation that “their families heart was devoted to the service of the saints.”  We don’t know the extent of their service, but we do know that it was noble service.  Paul encourages other believers to join the work that this family was doing and not passively stand and watch on the sidelines.

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it.   I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.  1 Corinthians 16:15-18

(Read more: Paul baptized this family.)  1 Corinthians 1:13-17

We see that they had such a large impact upon the church that Paul also encouraged other believers to submit to the leadership of those like the Stephanas family.  This family must have had a heart of love that extended to those they came in contact with.  They would have been encourager’s in word and in their deeds.  I know many of our Christian communities have individuals like this, but there is a great need for each of us to be part of helping build up the body of Christ. 

I know during the holiday season we are encouraged to help those in need, but it is my hope that the love of Christ will motivate each us to carry the gift of giving throughout the year.  

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Tabitha (Dorcus)

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. 

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