“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.” (Acts 9:39, AV)
A movie titled “Get Low” was released in 2009 that featured a Tennessee hermit named Felix Bush who planned his own funeral. It is loosely based upon a true story of a person named Felix Bushaloo who lived in Tennessee in 1938. Felix planned and then attended his own funeral so he could hear what people had to say about him and his life.
Most of us would never pull off a stunt like Felix did in the movie. Yet, many of us would like to know, in what way we influenced the people around us in life. In other words, we wonder what our legacy will be. Most of us will never be of great notoriety. We will not become the President of the United States, or even serve in the local government. Most of us preachers will never have much more written about us that a brief paragraph in a church’s summary of their succession of pastors. Many will be on a family’s genealogical register with very little information and nothing more to be remembered after that.
How will people remember us when we depart this life? This is a great question.
Here, in this passage, we see a woman named Tabitha, which translates as Dorcas. In the entire Bible her name is mentioned twice as Tabitha and twice as Dorcas. Her story covers only eight verses of Scripture. Not much notoriety for this woman in the entirety of history. However, she was remembered.
Peter upon arriving in Joppa, confronts a situation with Tabitha. She has died. Tabitha had a reputation for doing good works and acts of charity. The word charity, eleemosune, has the idea of mercy shown to the poor through acts of giving. Peter arrives and sees a group of widows weeping because of Tabitha’s death, and they show him articles of clothing that Tabitha made for them while she was alive.
Tabitha was not a Bible teacher or, as far as we know, a prominent church leader. Yet, she was dearly loved by a group of widows. Why? It was because she used the gifts and talents that she had to bless others.
God has blessed every believer in Jesus Christ with gifts and talents that we are to use for His glory by blessing others. Yes, some are teachers and preachers. Others are church leaders and musicians. Yet, equally important are saints who have abilities not normally seen on the public stage. These are gifts and talents that they through a heart of mercy can bless others.
We may move to relative obscurity in generations after we leave this life, but our deeds for the glory of God will not be forgotten. Ours shall be a lasting legacy. It will not be one for worldly approval, but one that shall have an eternal perspective. Use the blessings that God has showered upon you for His glory by extending acts of mercy to those in need.