Then back to Dorcas. In her story we see her serving in practical ways, making clothes, giving alms deeds, working with her hands to help with the poor and sick.
These thoughts encouraged me so much as I've tried to use my time while I'm single serving in the church wherever I can. Though different churches are going to have different needs, here are some ideas that have kept me busy - helping with children, keep a busy mom's baby or toddler during a service, cook a meal for a sick family, babysit, help people who are moving, help with serving and cleaning up meals at church, cleaning the building, and of course an important job we all need to be doing - praying for our church leaders and family. And that's just a few ideas to get started with:-) Notice the very different ways that these two women served, like us they had different talents, and different resources to work with, yet the Lord honors them both by putting them in His word and having us remember and be encouraged by them thousands of years later! I hope this will encourage you, as it has me, to serve wherever your talents might be use them for God's glory and to remind you that whether or not you are loved or valued by those around you, that the Lord loves you.
Below I shared the acounts from the Bible that I mentioned along with a few thoughts from Matthew Henry.
"And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
He is taken notice of by one Anna, a prophetess, that one of each sex might bear witness to him in whom both men and women are invited to believe, that they may be saved. Observe,
The account here given of this Anna, who she was. She was, A prophetess; the Spirit of prophecy now began to revive, which had ceased in Israel above three hundred years. Perhaps no more is meant than that she was one who had understanding in the scriptures above other women, and made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God. Though it was a very degenerate age of the church, yet God left not himself without witness.... She was a constant resident in or at least attendant on the temple. Some think she had lodgings in the courts of the temple, either in an alms-house, being maintained by the temple charities; or, as a prophetess, she was lodged there, as in a proper place to be consulted and advised with by those that desired to know the mind of God; others think her not departing from the temple means no more, than that she was constantly there at the time of divine service: when any good work was to be done, she was ready to join in it.
"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord."
She was a disciple, one that had embraced the faith of Christ and was baptized; and not only so, but was eminent above many for works of charity. She showed her faith by her works, her good works, which she was full of, that is, in which she abounded. Her head was full of cares and contrivances which way she should do good. Her hands were full of good employment; she made a business of doing good, was never idle, having learned to maintain good works (Tit. iii. 8), to keep up a constant course and method of them. She was full of good works, as a tree that is full of fruit. Many are full of good words, who are empty and barren in good works; but Tabitha was a great doer, no great talker: Non magna loquimur, sed vivimus—We do not talk great things, but we live them. Among other good works, she was remarkable for her alms—deeds, which she did, not only her works of piety, which are good works and the fruits of faith, but works of charity and beneficence, flowing from love to her neighbour and a holy contempt of this world. Observe, She is commended not only for the alms which she gave, but for the alms—deeds which she did. Those that have not estates wherewith to give in charity may yet be able to do in charity, working with their hands, or walking with their feet, for the benefit of the poor. They were alms—deeds, not which she purposed and designed and said she would do, but which she did; not which she began to do, but which she did, which she went through with, which she performed the doing of, 2 Cor. viii. 11; ix. 7. This is the life and character of a certain disciple; and should be of all the disciples of Christ; for, if we thus bear much fruit, then are we his disciples indeed.
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