Occasionally I sit in on one of our Women's Ministry Bible Studies. Currently they are involved in a study of the Women in the Bible. I would like to share a story with you, and the insight that God gave to me as a"Woman in Ministry" through this time of fellowship. It’s a story of a woman who was a believer just like us, and she served the body of Christ that she was involved in. (Note the meaning of her name in Aramaic and Greek means "gazelle")
Acts 9:36-42 " There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her friends prepared her for burial and laid her in an upstairs room. But they had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!” So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other garments Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, "Get up, Tabitha." And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he showed them that she was alive. The news raced through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord.”
Verse 39 records that when Peter arrived the room was filled with widows who were crying and showing him all the clothing that she had made for them and telling him all the kind things she had done for the poor. This woman, Dorcas, was in ministry as she took care of the women who had no husbands to care for them. For many of them, the clothing she made was all they had. Many had coats for the winter. (She probably cooked for them too!) The scripture records that she made other garments, they could have been clothing for the poor children in the neighborhood. She was into her ministry. She was serving the harvest. She had a testimony. God raised her from the dead and when she was brought back to life her testimony spread like peanut butter and jelly! (My favorite)
We too have been brought back to life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, our once and for all sacrifice. As women in ministry, we are called to sing, play and tell about it. As I began to ponder this woman’s ministry and how important she was to her community, I thought about the significance of her name. The Hebrew people did not just name their children after their favorite soap opera star. (Oops!) They were named after the very character of the person. (Do your homework and check it out for yourself) The Lord said to me that the gazelle was created to be a beauty animal. God created the gazelle to be an animal of beauty, can you imagine! My mind began to see a picture of a gazelle running through a meadow. I began to think of how that relates to ministry and me, after all, it was discussed at a woman’s bible study. Then it came to me, we were also created to be just as graceful in our ministry. As people see us do the work of our God, they will be encouraged because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Verse 42 says that after she was brought back to life, news spread all over the place and many believed in the Lord. Just think about it, the story of Dorcas even found its way into the pages of our Bible. We could see her good works and give God praise for it. Romans 15:4 states, “The things written in the past were written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.” Did you know that when you said yes to God regarding the calling on your life, you are affecting eternity in the lives of others? That means that your testimony is recorded forever because others will tell about how they got saved or encouraged. The testimony of Dorcas lives on forever in the pages of our Bible, the Holy Spirit saw to it.
What will be said of the call upon your life? I want to be known as David is known - “Debbi was a woman after God’s own heart.” Let us move on to do the work that God has called us to do with honor, giving God the glory with everything we have. Dorcas had a gift, a gift that she gave herself to. I Timothy 4:14 reminds us not to neglect the gift. We are to give ourselves to it being diligent about it. The more we give ourselves to our gifts, the more others will watch our progress. When you are doing what God called you to do, you make a difference in the lives of others.
Even if you have just started in your ministry, 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” That can be in youth and in the first stages of your ministry. Just do something and be comfortable in it. All things work together for good for those who are called according to God purpose. That’s you, girl!
What has God shown you about you and your ministry? Do you face any challenges that you want to talk about? I would like to hear about it!