A little over a year ago, I rescued a little black dog. Brady is part schnauzer, part terrier and part rebel. While cute, Brady seems to have almost no capacity to do what I want him to do and a huge capacity for doing what he wants. Take the couch for example. I must tell him "off" a hundred times in an average day, yet he still comes back to the couch the next day to determine if he can put his paws on it. Long after he's gone I will remember Brady as the dog who made me believe child training was easy by comparison.
This morning my reading is Acts 9:22-43. After receiving death threats in Damascus, Saul has returned to Jerusalem. He receives a rather chilly reception from the believers there. Barnabus, whose name aptly means Son of Encouragement, intervenes by introducing Saul to the apostles. After a period of ministry in Jerusalem, Saul again receives death threats and returns to his hometown of Tarsus (Verses 22-30).
Next, Luke turns his focus toward Peter and his ministry in a small town outside of Jerusalem called Lydda. Here, Peter heals a man who'd been paralyzed for eight years (Verses 32-35). So, when a much beloved follower in a neighboring town passed away, the disciples asked Peter to come. Peter brings this dear lady, Tabitha, back to life to the delight and joy of all who know her. Any time that a woman is highlighted in scripture my interest is peaked and today I am definitely challenged by this woman of great faith. I see distinct qualities in her life, that I desperately want in mine:
- Consistency (Verse 36) - "There was a disciple named Tabitha, who was always doing good and helping the poor." What a tribute. If Luke were describing me, he might say, "Shannon is sometimes a great mom", or "She somewhat thinks of others." I truthfully cannot imagine anyone who knows me well using the word always connected with any positive behavior I might exhibit. My heart yearns to follow Jesus like Tabitha, so that His attributes are so woven into the fabric of who I am that it appears to those who know me best that I "always" demonstrate them.
- A Legacy Builder (Verse 39) - "All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Tabitha had made while she was with them. Tabitha's character and behavior were knit together in such a way, that she had left a legitimate earmark on those who knew her. If I were to exit this life today, what thumbprints would I leave behind? Would I leave more than just my DNA in my children? What could be shown at my deathbed as evidence of what God called me to do while I walked this earth? Whatever those things are, today is the day to begin leaving an indelible mark on my children, family and friends.
Today, Dear Jesus, I will intentionally build my character and relationship with You. My aim will be consistency in whatever you ask me to do or be. I don't want to be a sometimes, somewhat disciple but instead an every day, always follower of Christ.