Tabitha, also known as Dorcas was a member of the early church. As a matter of fact, the Bible refers to her as a disciple. In describing her, the Bible says, “this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did.”
Dorcas lived in a city called Lydda and she was well known and well-loved for helping the saints, especially the widows. At some point she became sick, we are not told what the illness was but Dorcas did not recover from it, she died. Her body was washed as was the custom and laid in the upper room and the saints who had heard that Peter was in Joppa, a city nearby, sent for him. When Peter arrived, he was taken to the upper room where the body of Dorcas lay but all the widows followed him weeping and showing him the coats and garments Dorcas made while she lived. Obviously, Peter could not focus on the task at hand with all the weeping going on so he sent them out, prayed and Dorcas came back to life.
Now, the moral of the story is this; firstly, the good works of Dorcas were on display for Peter to see after she had died. This means that long after we are gone, our works, good or bad will be on display for all to see. There is a song that says, “Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling
only remembered for what we have done.” After we are gone, all that will remain for people to remember us by is what we did while we lived.
Secondly, the good works of Dorcas were not only seen after she died, but they spoke for her after she had died and had no voice to speak for herself. Dorcas’ good deeds had a voice that called Peter to come from Joppa to Lydda and pray for her resurrection. Whatever good deeds we do, it has a voice and on the day we are not available to speak for ourselves, the voice of our good deeds will speak for us.
Dorcas was a woman with a vision to meet the needs of the saints and widows in Lydda and that vision would not let her die. As you embrace your vision today, it will keep you alive.
“Escape for thy life! Do not look behind you.” This was the charge given to Lot and his family as they departed from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Lot was Abraham’s nephew and he went to live in Sodom and Gomorrah after parting from Abraham. Unfortunately, the men of Sodom were wicked and God chose to destroy the city. However, because of Abraham He spared the life of Lot. The angels sent to destroy the city were instructed to first remove Lot and his family. Sadly though, Lot could not depart with all his family members, he had daughters who were married to men of Sodom and their husbands did not believe Lot when he told them the land was about to be destroyed therefore they remained and Lot left with his wife and two unmarried daughters. Although they were given a clear instruction not to look back as they departed, Lot’s wife disobeyed this instruction and became a pillar of salt.
Several things can be learnt from Lot’s wife and her destruction. Firstly, whenever we look back we become rooted to the spot and unable to move. Stagnation and lack of progress become the order of the day each time we look behind us because no one goes forward looking backward. Every time you turn to look at where you are coming from, you are rooted to the spot and not making progress. This applies also to those who ‘sit on their laurels’, and glory in their accomplishments. When they do this, they are looking behind, at past events and therefore rooted to the spot and not moving forward or making progress.
Secondly, in the journey of life, ultimately we travel alone. We may come from large families, have plenty of children, and lots of friends but ultimately we travel alone. People will enter and exit our lives but they will not travel with us, this is painful but true. Lot’s wife did not understand this and was obviously weighed down by the thought of her family members left behind in Sodom and unable to make the trip. Therefore, when the sound of destruction reached her ears she forgot the command and turned towards Sodom where her heart was with the loved ones she left physically but not emotionally and she was destroyed.
Thirdly, we must be prepared to embrace change when it comes or risk destruction. Change sometimes happens suddenly as it did for Lot and his family. Lot’s wife obviously did not welcome the sudden departure from Sodom which left her no time to kiss her friends and loved ones good bye. She was ushered out of the city without anytime to emotionally and mentally severe herself from it. As a result, she turned back to her detriment.
Finally, we must be ready to step out of our comfort zone, out of what is familiar to us and reach for that which is unfamiliar but necessary for our preservation and growth. Sodom and Gomorrah represented a comfort zone for Lot’s wife but it also represented destruction. She was at home there, she and her family had embraced the culture of the people and this is evident because her daughters were married to men of Sodom. Suddenly, she was thrust out of the land, out of her comfort zone, out of that which was familiar to her. She had no idea what the future held and what to expect and because she was unsure of the future she turned to the past to her undoing.
Sometimes we must step out of our comfort zone especially if it has become a place of limitation and destruction and move towards a future unknown, but, it is not a reason to return to that which we have left. Therefore, my closing charge to you is this; whatever you do from this point onward, don’t look back.
God said to Abraham after Lot was separated from him, “Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward. For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed for ever.”
There are several things that we can learn from that charge. The first thing we immediately see is the promise, “all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed for ever.” However, what is more important than what we see is how we see. If we see wrong we will get wrong but if we see right we will get right. And what we see will not only be given to us, it will also be given to our descendants so this is pretty serious. To see right and get right, we need to do two things, one we need to look up and two we need to start from the place where we are. In other words, we must not go back to the place where we are coming from. We must leave the past behind and with it, the failures and bad experiences we’ve had. We cannot afford to bring them with us or they will affect what we see going forward and ultimately what we receive. Lot represented Abraham’s past, and it is interesting to note that God gave Abraham this charge only after Lot was separated from him. Lot, which is Abraham’s past, no doubt would have affected what he saw. For Abraham, the past was one of total failure, of living in his father’s house at the age of 75 years. There is nothing good about that.
When God asked Abraham to lift up his eyes, He simply meant, look up. The phrase, look up means to show promise of improving or to have a positive attitude. So, no matter how bad your past experiences may have been, you must have a positive attitude in order to be able to see good things and receive them. Those who look up will always see the stars and those who look down will always see the mud or the dirt. We know which is better; therefore look up no matter what the situation may be.
Another thing we learn from the charge to Abraham is the need to start from where we are, that is from the present. The present may not be great, as a matter of fact, it may bear a lot of similarities to the past and that is probably as a result of our attitude. Therefore, albeit the circumstances you are presently faced with are not exactly to your liking, but right there, in the midst of those ugly circumstances, if you look up you will see great things and all that you see will eventually be yours and your descendants’.
Today is a good day to try again. Remember Simon Peter the professional fisherman with years of experience? Well, although he was experienced and considered an expert in his field, his expertise failed him one night. He had gone out fishing as usual but it had been a most unusual night. He put all his expertise to use but nothing worked and so he gave up. He had toiled, he had done all that he knew to do but nothing had worked and so it was time to pack it all up and return home; the mission had been a failure, or so he thought. He steered his ship towards the sea shore and got out to wash his nets.
While he washed his net, Jesus approached him and asked to use his boat as a platform from which to preach His message. Peter did not mind and Jesus asked him to steer the ship a little away from the land. Peter got back into the ship without realising that he was getting a chance to try again. After teaching a while, Jesus said to him, “Launch into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.” I can imagine that Peter’s first reaction must have been, “You can’t be serious.” Remember that Peter was an expert as far as fishing was concerned and he knew that at that time of the morning it was impossible to get any fish, which was the reason he gave up in the first place. However, I think he may have heard some of Jesus’ preaching and thought, “this man is a great teacher, let me honour his word,” but of course not without first pointing out the hopelessness of the situation. He said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” As soon as he did the net enclosed a great multitude of fishes so much so that he beckoned on his partners to help him but the fish was too much for both boats that they began to sink.
Several things can be learnt from this story. One, Peter, succeeded in the same place where he had failed, not a different place but the very same place. Therefore, the fact that you failed in a place is not to say that you can’t succeed there next time. Two, Peter succeeded in the same profession he had failed in. So a change of job may not be the answer you require. Three, although, he had given up, when he returned with a new determination to succeed, all the forces that had hitherto worked against him, turned to work for him. Life will give you what you are determined to have. Four, he succeeded at a time when it was naturally more difficult for him to do so. Five, he got more than he would have had the first time. When you return to the place of failure to try again, you will be paid for all you lost the first time.
When the Bible first described Abigail, this is what it said; “And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance. This tells us two things, one that she was good to look at and two she had a pleasant personality. However, what the Bible did not tell us, but which we pick up as we read her story, is that she was also a very brave and courageous woman.
The downside of Abigail’s life was that she married a man who was the exact opposite of her. The Bible described him as harsh and evil in his doings and Abigail herself in speaking to David about her husband referred to him as a fool. Who is a fool? According to the free dictionary, a fool is one who acts unwisely on a given occasion.
We see Nabal’s foolishness on display in his dealing with David. David was in the wilderness hiding from Saul who sought to kill him, there he met and showed kindness to Nabal’s shepherds and sheep in protecting them from harm. After sometime, he required food for himself and his men and Nabal had plenty of food, so David sent messengers to Nabal requesting a favour in return for the act of kindness previously shown. Nabal showed his ingratitude and foolishness by sending a rude message to David who set out instantly to destroy Nabal and his household. Fortunately, a servant told Abigail what her husband had done and she hurriedly prepared some food and went out to meet David and his men to stop the plan to destroy her family.
When Abigail took this step she was taking the initiative and this is what leaders do; so although Nabal was the God ordained leader of the family, he failed in his duty, he exposed his followers, i.e. his household to danger and probable extinction by his foolish decision to oppose David who he had no might against. He failed to see how far-reaching the consequences of his unwise decision were but Abigail did not and stepped into Nabal’s place as leader to rescue the family from destruction. In going out to meet David and his men who were hungry, angry and armed with the intention of destroying all that belonged to Nabal, Abigail was taking a great risk and showing great bravery and courage that women are known to display when their family is in danger.
For thousands of years, women have been known to step in and save their households from danger. The reason is simple, women nurture lives; for this reason Adam called his wife Eve which means life-giver.
Women are neither weak nor faint-hearted, let no one deceive you. Inside every woman there is an Abigail ready to meet and stop the enemy afar off. Let the Abigail in you arise today.
When you think, all is lost, time is gone, it is no use trying now, the best years of my life are behind me, remember that Abraham was an old man of 75 years still living in his father’s house, childless and without any hope of ever becoming a celebrity. However, in 25 years his story changed; he became a father of two and was very wealthy in silver, gold, livestock, servants, etc. He was 175 years old when he died and he not only enjoyed tremendous wealth and fatherhood, he also went on to re-marry and have more children after the death of Sarah his wife.
When you think all is lost and you can no longer achieve your dreams, remember Moses who ran from Egypt at the age of 40 years and spent another 40 years in his father-in-law’s house helping him tend the sheep. He appeared to be a finished man but another forty years saw him achieve the greatest things in the history of mankind. He led an entire nation out of another nation and one that was at the time, the most powerful nation on the earth. He led Israel through the wilderness where many other great feats were accomplished and when he died, he died as one of the greatest men to have walked the face of the earth.
When you think all is lost, and time is gone, remember Jesus who lived the first 30 years of his life as a carpenter although he was sent to the world to be much more and do much more. When it seemed time was gone as he had only three and a half years left, he stepped out of the carpenter’s shed and into his purpose. What he accomplished in three and a half years (which is one tenth of his time on earth), the world is yet to recover from more than two thousand years later.
When you think all is lost and time is gone and you can no longer achieve your dreams, remember Nelson Mandela. He was incarcerated for 27 years but when he was released he lived another 23 years and in those years became one of the greatest men alive. Today, we don’t remember those who held him behind bars but we remember and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.
When you think all is lost, when you think time is gone, when you think it is too late, remember it is not, you only think that it is. Rise up, step out and achieve your dreams. Your world is waiting for you.