THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

June 9, 2010

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

In Acts 9:36-42 we read a story about a lady that we don't hear a whole lot about. In fact her whole story can be told in seven verses. But she was a great woman who made an impact on a lot of people.

"At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick, and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord."

The first thing the scriptures mention about Tabitha is that she was "full of good works and charitable deeds which she did." Later it mentions that all the widows who were present, when Peter arrived at the house, showed him tunics and garments that she had made. Apparently she sewed and made sure that the widows, and probably their children also, were clothed. I don't know whether she weaved her own cloth, or whether she knew someone wealthy who donated it, or if she was financially able to purchase it herself. But she put her skills to good use and provided clothing for those in need.

Tabitha may have enjoyed sewing and doing this for others was something that she thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, she may not have really known the impact that she had on others. To her, it may have been a small, insignificant thing that she was doing, and she had no idea how much it was appreciated. I daresay that she was not doing it for praise or for acknowledgement from others. In fact, she may have secretly been giving the clothing she made to the widows so as not to cause them embarrassment. She may have quietly slipped the new garments to them so that they could retain their pride and not have attention drawn to them.

There were many poor widows and orphans during this time, and the New Testament church made it their ministry to make sure they were clothed and fed. And Tabitha was taking it upon herself to sew clothing for those in need.

It may have only been upon her death, when the widows gathered at her home, that they began sharing what she had done for them, and realized how many people she had actually helped. They may have taken turns telling their stories about her showing up at their home with a new tunic or garment for them or their children, at the precise moment they were desperate and didn't know what they were going to do. It may have been when she was on her deathbed that they all showed up to care for her, and realized how special this woman really was and how much she meant to them. They may have then realized how much they truly depended on her and how well-loved she truly was.

They sent for Peter, who was in a town nearby, to come as soon as possible. Apparently they did so after Tabitha's death. The scriptures say that after her death, they washed her and laid her in an upper room. The disciples then heard that Peter was in the next town, and sent two men to him, begging him to come to them. When he got to the house, the widows began showing him all the clothing that Tabitha had made for them. He had all of them leave the room, then he knelt down beside where her body was laying, and prayed. He then turned to her and said, "Tabitha arise," and she opened her eyes and sat up. After she got up, he called the saints and widows who were there, and they saw that she was alive. Because of this miracle, many believed on the Lord.

Not only did this woman impact her community during her life, but upon her death and the miracle of her being raised from the dead, many believed on God and her life had an even greater impact. She blessed others by sewing for them before she became ill and died, but then many came to know Christ through the miracle of her coming back to life. What a testimony of her life!

Too often we think we don't have the resources to bless others. We do nothing because we think we can't do something big. Or if we do a good deed, we say we're being humble about it, but will tell others so they know what we've done. Why is it so difficult for us to reach out and help others, and keep silent about it and not get recognition for it?

I recently had something occur that brought this to my attention. I mow our yard, and do so with a push mower. The neighbors that live on one side of us has a nice big zero turn mower. Their son, who is in his 20's, still lives at home and does all their mowing. They've lived by us for probably 3-4 years now, and they mow their yard to the line that divides our property, then I mow from that "invisible" line on over to our driveway.

A couple weeks ago I had heard the son mowing and really wasn't paying any attention. Later that evening I took the trash dumpster out to the end of our drive. To my surprise, our neighbor's son had not just mowed to their property line, but went ahead and mowed on over to our driveway. He didn't come over and say, "Would you want me to mow that part of your yard for you," and he didn't come over afterwards and point out his good deed. He just mowed, without saying anything, and that was it.

I was mowing the rest of our front yard the next day and he walked out to his car and started to get in. He didn't try to get my attention so he could say, "Hey, did you notice what I did for you?!?" He just waved, then started to get into his car. I turned the mower off and thanked him for mowing that section of our yard for me. He waved it off and said, "It's not that much; it was no big deal." Then he left.

What was no big deal to him, meant a lot to me. What took him a couple minutes to do with his big powerful mower, saved me about 15-20 minutes of mowing time. And I really appreciated it! The next week, he mowed that section for me and once again didn't say anything about it. Just a small act of kindness can sometimes mean the most to someone.

To be honest, we aren't close friends with those neighbors and really aren't that well acquainted with them. We've visited with the parents occasionally when we've been outside at the same time, but they're not people that we socialize with. The son and I have briefly spoken a few times, but mainly just wave if we happen to see each other. So why would he do something nice for me? He owes me nothing, and desired nothing in return. He didn't do it for recognition or honor. He did it simply to be kind.

Acts of kindness can be some of the greatest blessings we can ever receive. True kindness doesn't desire anything in return, but acts with a pure motive and intent.

Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness......"

When we're kind to others we seek to do good. Our motive is not, "If I do this for them, then maybe someday they'll repay me and do this for me." But we see an opportunity to reach out and help, and we do so without thinking of recognition or benefits we may gain from doing so. We genuinely want to bless that person, so we act with love and kindness.

Tabitha had no ulterior motives when she was sewing clothing for the widows who were in need. She had a gift and the means by which to bless these women, so used her talent to ease the load just a little for them. She may have known that they had enough to worry about without the added stress of how they were going to clothe themselves and their children, so she did what she could to make their lives a little less burdensome. When she became sick and died, you can see the love these widows had for her. They showed Peter the gifts that she had made for them.

I don't know how many years Tabitha lived after Peter prayed and she came back to life, but I'm sure that she spent her days on earth sewing and helping those in need.

Most of us probably won't have a second chance like Tabitha did. Once we've breathed our last breath, then we're gone from this earth and the opportunities we had to reach out and do acts of kindnesses is gone. Therefore, we need to make the most of each day as we possibly can. When we die, will there be those who will gather and "show" the acts of love that we did for them? Will they be able to remember the kindnesses that we showed towards them? How are we impacting the lives of those around us?

We only have this one chance in life, so may we each make the most of it. I don't want to live for myself and what I can accumulate for me, but I want to love and bless others. I pray that is your desire also.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I'm really impressed by people for whom kindness comes naturally. I enjoy helping people who need it. But it's usually only a second thought for me. Just a few years ago, I remember driving past someone with his car hood open, and a desperate look on his face. I didn't realize till I'd passed him that I had plenty of time. I could have stopped to try to help. So I drove back. All he needed was a jump start, and I had the cables. I didn't see at first: he had a family in the car, and they were all on their way to visit relatives, but didn't have any way to call them. Helping them was easy for me, and I felt great for doing it. But I have to admit, when I first saw him, I just thought, "Ah, that stinks. Poor guy. Oh, well."

I guess with practice, it would come more naturally.

BIBLE TRIVIA QUESTIONS:

  1. How old was Noah when the flood took place?

  2. When Abraham was interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah, he asked God if there were 50 righteous would God spare it; then he went down to 45 and God said He would spare the city if 45 righteous were found. What was the last number of righteous that Abraham ended with when asking God to spare the city?

  3. Why was Moses not allowed to enter into the promised land, after leading the people for 40 years in the wilderness?

  4. Who was David's first wife; and was he already king when they married?

  5. Who was the first man in the Bible who never died (God took him up into heaven)?

ON THE MENEWE:

Chimichangas

1 lb. Chicken breast

2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded

1 cup Cottage Cheese

1/2 jalapeno

Medium flour tortillas

Cook chicken breasts thoroughly; chop into small pieces and set aside. Slice jalapeno in half; remove seeds and chop into very fine pieces. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except tortillas) together until well-blended. Put two heaping tablespoons of mixture in center of tortilla. Fold edges inside to ensure all mixture remains inside the tortilla, then roll up. Once all your chimi's are rolled and ready, you can either bake them at 350 until shell is crispy or you can fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Serve alone or with sour cream, guacamole, or salsa.

BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

  1. Noah was 600 years old. (Genesis 7:6)

  2. 10 righteous (Genesis 19:32)

  3. God spoke to Moses and told him to speak to the rock and water would come forth, but he was angry and struck the rock with his rod instead. (Numbers 20:8-12)

  4. Michal, King Saul's daughter; Saul was still king when he gave her to David as a wife. (1 Samuel 18:27, 28)

  5. Enoch (Genesis 5:24)

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

What is desired in a man is kindness... Proverbs 19:22

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org