November 15, 2016
“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.” Acts 9:36 (NIV)
My kitchen contains some of my favorite things.
My big red Dutch oven where a batch of cheesy potato-corn chowder simmers. A watercolor painting of a bowl of fruit, purchased at an estate sale. And my aqua hand mixer. Because, well, I like to bake, and I love the color aqua! But the object I adore most is a lettered sign my mother-in-law gave me, made from rustic barnwood and stenciled with this simple phrase: “Scatter Kindness.”
I hung this inspiring inscription above the kitchen door that leads to the garage, so I’m sure to see it every time I exit my home. We live in a world filled with turmoil, sadness and despair. Of course, there are pockets of happiness too. On many days, though, it feels like the sadness overshadows the joy. It doesn’t take much looking around to find a soul in need of a little encouragement or a healthy dose of hope.
I was once told that there are two types of people in the world: those who enter a room full of people and announce, “Here I am!” and those who walk into a room, seek out another soul and lovingly declare, “Oh … there you are!” It makes me wonder, someday — when I am long gone — will I be remembered as someone who sought to encourage others or sought only to make herself known? Which one will be said of you?
The Bible tells detailed stories of the titans of the faith: Abraham, Joseph, Esther and Mary, to name a few. But sometimes it gives us an intriguing glimpse of some lesser-known characters, sketching their stories in a simple sentence or two. One such character is the New Testament woman named Tabitha.
We meet Tabitha in Acts, where the story of the birth of the Christian church is recorded by a doctor named Luke. Acts also introduces us to the founders of the church, including Peter and Paul. But tucked away in its pages we also find a portrait of a woman who demonstrated how to put others first and scatter kindness. I love her one-sentence description: “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36, emphasis added).
What a beautiful and unusual introduction! While most personal descriptions mention relationships (such as “a wonderful wife and mother”) or career accomplishments (“a dedicated nurse”) this woman was known for continually looking for ways to scatter kindness. Concerned about the poor, she actively worked to make their lives better. In fact, her actions so radiated Christ’s love that the author of Acts recorded these words for us to read 2,000 years later in our Bibles.
One reason we know about Tabitha today is because she died, and Peter raised her from the dead. But as glorious as her resurrection was, her character is what impresses me: “She was always doing good and helping the poor.” Oh, how this one sentence shakes my soul and stirs my heart!
If someone were going to record a one-sentence eulogy about us, what would they say? Would they observe about us — like Tabitha — that we were “always doing good” to others? Were we on the lookout for those who had a much harder row to hoe, or were we more concerned about our own safety and comfort, giving little thought to others?
While sometimes we may think our life is boring, could we see our humble and common circumstances as an opportunity for God’s eternal purposes, just as Tabitha did? Could we seek to scatter kindness, discovering an important and fulfilling ministry as we do?
Years from now, how will you be remembered? As a, “Here I am!” person or as an, “Oh … there you are!” sort of soul?
What will be your one-sentence eulogy?
Father, may I make it my aim today to scatter kindness as I go through life, reflecting to others Your kindness to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Timothy 6:18, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (NIV)
For practical ideas for scattering kindness to family, friends, strangers, and even the hard-to-love, grab a copy of Karen Ehman’s newest book Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.
It is celebration time over at Karen’s blog as her new book releases today! Click your way over and enter to win your own Dutch oven pot, a “Scatter Kindness” sign, or one of five copies of Listen, Love, Repeat (and also get her free recipe for cheesy potato-corn chowder)!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Survey your life for a moment. Think about what actions of yours speak the loudest. What do you hope will be your one-sentence eulogy?
© 2016 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.