By Judy Brandon
Last week I was reading a commentary about people whose lives make a difference for the better. The article focused on people from all walks of life and all age groups. The one thing in common in all the people profiled was they had a positive impact on our world. The article focused on one woman wholives in a major metropolitan area in the United States and runs a street ministry that feeds, provide clothes and medial care for the needy.
The article had to do with people who minister to others in the 21st century who are poor and needy and live in the streets. But the idea of street people or those who are really poor and in need has been around for a long time.
One woman was recorded doing the same great work centuries ago. She was not chronicled in a national newspaper but her story is revealed in the Bible.
This woman reached out to widows.
In biblical days, women who were widows were on their own unless they had a son to support them financially. So this woman, Dorcas of Joppa (Acts 9), saw the need of widows and ministered to them. Her Hebrew name was Tabitha and in Greek she was called Dorcas.
She was a believer in Christ and was associated with a group of believers who lived in Joppa.
She used her talents and resources to make coats and other garments to wear. Everywhere she went she would see the needs of these women and try to meet those needs. Her reputation grew and when people in the city of Joppa heard the name Dorcas, they knew that help was coming. Her name was synonymous with kindness and compassion.
But one day Dorcas became seriously ill and died. Her friends attended her during her sickness and during her death. After her death they laid her in an upstairs room in her home.
Peter had been preaching all over the country and was in a nearby town. Because they had heard about all the wonderful miracles that Peter was performing, they sent two men immediately to find him.
These men led Peter to Dorcas’ house in Joppa. He went in and climbed the stairs. On the second floor he found Dorcas dead in a room crowded with all those widows in mourning.
Peter sent them all out of the room. When he was alone, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to her body and said “Tabitha arise!” She opened her eyes saw Pete and sat up. Peter took her by the hand and helped her stand up. He called her friends back into the room to show them all that Dorcas was alive and well.
The news spread all over Joppa that Peter had performed a miracle and brought this woman back to life. The people were all amazed and believed it, especially when they saw Dorcas on the street again, handing out clothes, doing for others and helping the widows. Once again she began to minister to the needy of Joppa.
In public service or private enterprise, people can make a difference. While some wish to make this difference on a large-scale, others choose to help someone one-on-one.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org