Monday, December 10, 2012

Known Because of Kindness

By Lance Cordle
“Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.” (Acts 9:36, NASBU)
     A discouraging aspect of current American culture is the seemingly endless fascination with celebrities—actors, athletes, and those who are fabulously wealthy. Not only are there entire television programs and magazines devoted to this cult of celebrity worship, but even “serious” news programs have segments filled with the latest “buzz” and celebrity gossip. Most of the people followed, worshiped, and profiled live lives of shallow hedonism.
     How refreshing it is, then, to turn to the pages of the Bible and be introduced to a woman whose life was characterized by deeds of kindness. Tabitha (also known as Dorcas) was a Christian at Joppa, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Palestine. Readers of the Bible are introduced to Tabitha because she died, but she was significant because of the way she lived her life. You can read her brief story in Acts 9: 36-43.
     First, notice that the Bible makes special mention of her kindness. The first words of the narrative are those explaining who she was. The Bible says she was “abounding with deeds of kindness.” She was not know for one deed, but many—an overflowing number. Also, it is said the she “continually did” acts of kindness. This was a way of life for her. Thus, it not only describes her deeds, but her heart.
     Secondly, take note of the fact that her brothers and sisters in Christ made a special effort to get Peter to go to Joppa. Wayne Jackson, in his commentary on Acts, makes mention of normalcy of same-day burial (Acts 5:6) and the delay in Tabitha ‘s case. He also wonders if their delay and call for Peter were indicators of their hope that he could do something about her death (The Acts of the Apostles from Jerusalem to Rome, p. 119).
     Finally, as you read the account of Tabitha, notice the impact of her passing on those she had affected. The widows (an often-neglected class then and now) stood by crying and displaying clothing she had made (presumably for them). Her life was so meaningful that the impact of her death was powerful.
     We would likely not have known of Tabitha if it had not been for her kindness. Not only did she make a difference in the lives of people then, but she continues to affect people today, because of her kindness. What a beautiful life—that started in a beautiful heart! How’s your heart?

- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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