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Honouring Godliness

Acts 9:36-39
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became ill and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, 'Please come at once!' Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood round him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. (NIVUK)

Peter had just seen Aenaes healed in Lydda where a large number of people were converted. They realised the awesome authority of Jesus Christ. About 15 miles away, in the Mediterranean sea-port of Joppa, a much loved believer called Tabitha had died. Hearing that Peter was nearby in Lydda, the believers sent two men to ask him to come quickly.

The time interval from death was significantly long, several hours at least. Tabitha's body had been washed and removed to a private room; then the men had to travel the 15 miles to get Peter, and then another 15 miles' journey to bring Peter to the bedside. There was no doubt. Tabitha was dead. We do not know if the believers really expected her to be raised from the dead but they requested that Peter should come quickly.

Peter was compassionate but, like when Jesus healed Jairus' daughter, he had to contend with the wailing widows who had assembled as a corporate demonstration of shared grief (Luke 9:52). They also paraded the remarkable needlework by which Tabitha had blessed the church and demonstrated her love for the Lord and His people in making beautiful clothes for other people (Philippians 4:8).

It is right to honour people who have been humbly obedient to the Lord; who use the gifts He has given for the good of the fellowship and the glory of God (Philippians 2:29-30). Many of God's faithful servants are quietly working away, and their value is not noticed until they have gone. It is a sad reflection of our ungrateful human nature that we take people for granted. Let us honour godliness because by that we also honour Him, and encourage His people to be like Him.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for the gifts You give to ordinary people so that they can bless others by providing what is necessary, good and beautiful. Forgive me for taking Your humble servants for granted and not honouring them as I should. Please help me to recognise those whose godly lives glorify Jesus; may I follow their example and encourage others to do the same. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams