Love and Good Deeds (Dorcas)
Bible Reading: Acts 9:36-43
“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love” (Colossians 2:2)
We’ve a lot of quilts around our house. There’s one that hangs in the upstairs hallway. It was a gift from our church family on the first anniversary of our ministry at Lewis and Clark Bible Church. Every family in the church contributed a square and it was all sewn together to make a beautiful wall hanging. Years later the church made another wonderful quilt for us bearing the names of a lot more families, as the church had grown. When my Mom died Laura engaged some church ladies to help put together a quilt full of pictures of Mom with her children and grandchildren. It served as a comforting and precious gift in a particular time of need. Having heard of Laura’s cancer diagnosis, our friend Nancy in Maine, worked in her quilting group to put together a colorful quilt for her. Some ladies at Lewis and Clark Bible Church spearheaded an effort to sew dresses and “Days for Girls” kits for us to take to Uganda. At one point there were as many as 30 ladies in that sewing group! Hundreds of dresses and kits made their way to needy girls in that far away place. Our friend Cynthia took some remnants from that effort and sewed together a rag rug to be used in our new home in Heppner. For over two years Laura has been working daily on putting together memory quilts for our four children. She’s completed three, and has only one left to go. And lest I forget, our dear friend Mary (now home with Jesus), worked tirelessly for many years making quilts for folks in nursing homes and assisted living centers. Our youngest daughter used to go weekly to help Mary in those efforts.
That’s a lot of sewing. And a lot of beautiful quilts lovingly created to bless a lot of different folks. Over the past years I’ve witnessed the time and energy Laura’s given to preparing these memory quilts for our kids. It’s a labor of love for sure! By the way–it’s Laura’s birthday today! Thank you so much for your continued concern and prayers for her as she continues courageously fights her long battle with cancer.
Like so many dear Christian women I’ve known over the years, Dorcas was “full of good works and acts of charity” (Acts 9:36). The main point of the passage is the miracle that took place when she was raised back to life. That miracle became known throughout Joppa and “many believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:42). But there’s another endearing element of this story that should serve as an encouragement to us all.
Dorcas had a heart to serve others. Like so many others I’ve known, she was always looking for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with other folks. It’s apparent from what we read in the text that she had a special place in her heart for widows. As a hospice chaplain, and having recently led a GriefShare support group, I’ve witnessed how difficult it can be for those who have lost a loved one. In their grief, such folks deal with all kinds of new challenges and difficult emotions. How good it is then when someone comes alongside with an encouraging word or caring presence. In Dorcas’ case, she made “tunics and other garments” for them (Acts 9:39). In fact, it was apparently quite a scene when Peter arrived where Dorcas’ body lay, for he found a group of widows eager to display to him what Dorcas had made for them! They were to them more than garments, they were evidence of the love of Jesus revealed to them through Dorcas’ efforts.
Dorcas loved Jesus. And she loved Jesus by loving others. Her talent was sewing, so she used that particular gift to lovingly provide and encourage those in need. She made beautiful garments, even as Jesus was making something beautiful of her life. The love of Jesus worked through her to bless others, and that’s the way things are supposed to work. You may not be much of a seamstress, I’m sure not, but God has given you a unique set of gifts and talents to be used in serving Him. Opportunities abound…all you need is a heart to serve! God will take care of the rest. And that’s part of what it means to love like Jesus!
God Knits Something Beautiful of our Lives as we Find Ways to Serve Others
Lord Jesus. How beautiful is Your church. Knitted together in love, You’ve done a miraculous thing in uniting us all together. Yet, we sometimes fall back into our old selfish ways and lose track of the glorious work You are doing. Forgive us. You’ve worked to change our hearts. You’ve filled our hearts to overflowing with Your love. But not so we might simply sponge it up, but that we might be channels of blessing. We marvel at Your example of servanthood. And we are encouraged by the examples we read about and see. May Your Spirit work mightily in us, that we might eagerly pursue those good works You’ve prepared ahead of time for us to do. Thank You for the privilege of serving You. May You be honored and glorified in it! Amen.