When I was 12 years old, I was in an expository (I still don’t know what this is) preaching competition. My sermon was “Dare to be a Daniel.” I took third place in the state of Kentucky. Before you get to thinking that I was unusually gifted at preaching at an early age, I should point out that there were only 3 guys in the competition. Anyone who has ever heard me preach, understands why I got last place. But the message came from a pure place. I wanted to live my life in fellowship and wild adventure with God. I felt like Daniel was a great picture of that.
As I ran last night, another saint popped into my mind, Dorcas. Such a cool name. It actually means gazelle. It losses the effect in modern times because it is too closely associated with the slang “Dork”! This lady was also called Tabitha. Her life account is found in Acts 9:36-43, shortly after the transformation of Saul, the apostle. Dorcas’ story might have easily been overlooked, but for some strange reason she was on my mind last night. Even more strange was the fact that she was in the text of my morning Bible reading. We do not know a lot about her, but we do know that her life really counted because of her good works.
Let’s look at what we do know about Dorcas and see what we should be striving for as well. First, she was a disciple. She followed the teachings of Jesus and was a believer. Secondly, because of her relationship with Jesus, she was continually doing good works and acts of charity. Then she got sick and died. Not exactly a novel or even enough for a movie, but as you read on through the text you feel the weight of all she had done with her life. After she had been prepared for burial, the apostle Peter was summonsed to come to the house in hopes of a miracle. Now I have been to a lot of funerals and there are many mourners there, but I have never been to one where people stood outside showing off all the good works this person did and wished that they be raised from the dead so that they could continue that work. I believe Dorcas had been so diligent to meet needs that the kingdom of God was advancing because of the works of her hands and generosity. We might easily overlook these spiritual gifts for more impressive ones like preaching, teaching, evangelism, etc, but if a spiritual gift is used to glorify God and meet needs, then they are being faithful with their gift and that person will not be ashamed to stand before Jesus one day.
I have met few people like Dorcas. I want to give you someone that I believe has the spiritual gift of generosity. My mom is the most generous person I have ever met. There have been people who have given me more, but not as consistently. For example! Every time I go back to Kentucky, I always make sure I pack light and leave extra room in the car. I have never once gone to see mom without her at least trying to send me home with something she wants to give me. I usually have to finally say no because of lack of room in the car and the tires are beginning to squat. She not only likes to give, but she watches too. She looks at the clothes or shoes I wear in hopes of running across a bargain at the store so she can get it for me. She expresses her love for the Savior and her love for me by the way she gives. She doesn’t just do it for me either, but for others. She will often send a text about a great deal she found on clothes for my babies. She is so excited to find it at a low price and share it with us. That is supernatural and an expression of the Fathers love for us. My mom shows me how God loves to lavish His love on us when we come to Him.
Dorcas touched so many lives and the widows hated to see her go. I don’t believe it was because of the free stuff, but because of the love and care they felt being in her presence. It was like being in the presence of Jesus when they spent time with her. Shouldn’t our life has the same effect? Most people leave me thinking, “Well, that was weird.” I believe we need to be exercising our spiritual gifts to show a lost and hopeless world the love and care of Jesus. We should seek to meet needs and to advance the kingdom of God. But far too often, we get caught up in the machine of making money so we can have nicer cars, clothes, houses, and stuff. Sadly, we won’t be missed when we are gone. Oh yeah, a few will cry and they might miss you, but will people stand outside the church proclaiming your good works and praying for a miracle???
Dare to be a Dorcas. Jesus said it best in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.” People see Jesus more often by what you do, than by what you say. What adjustments do you need to make to let your good works begin to come forward? How can you start incorporating your spiritual gifts in your everyday life? What do you need to let go of in order to do good? I would love to be able to encourage you in that direction.
Grace and Peace to you as dare to be a Dorcas, a Daniel, or whomever as long as your desire is to glorify God and do good.