Summary: What practical ways can we relieve the suffering of others and make life better for people. How can we translate our Christianity into our daily life through work.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
September 4, 2005
Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree
Making an Impact Through Work
“What do you do for Christ each day?”
a faithful Christian said.
And I replied, “I drive a
truck and fill the stores with bread.”
He said, “I know of your bread route
But that is not the thing.
I mean what do you do each day
For Jesus Christ the King?”
I said, “But I believe a man can
work in such a way
That selling bread is work for Christ
A sacrament each day.”
Once more the man inquired, “But sir,
If this is not unfair
What do you do for Christ each day,
Like witnessing and prayer?”
I said, “Work is my best witness
and selling bread to them
is like a prayer in Jesus’ name.
I drive the truck for Him!” (author unknown)
I agree that this truck driver was making a positive impact for the Lord each day. We can live our lives in such a way that we make an impact on others around us not only through our worship, but through our ordinary work each day. The Bible says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and...he went around doing good...because God was with him” (Acts 10:38. Sometimes it seems difficult to connect our faith with our daily life. Today’s message is entitled, “Making an Impact Through Work.” What does the word impact mean to you? (Comments).
Making an impression on
Making a statement
Making a difference
Can you think of other words to describe making an impact? The truck driver felt he was “making an impact” in people’s lives by filling the store shelves with bread to feed hungry people. He was making a difference. You might think of many ways that you have made an impact on the lives of others and ways they have made an impact on you.
In today’s scripture a woman at Joppa made an enormous impact on her community by “always doing good and helping the poor” by making robes and other clothing. When this story took place, there were few people in the culture who were more destitute than widows. They were usually considered the neediest people in society. They couldn’t get much of a job to buy food let alone buy other things they needed. Dorcas stepped in to help fill that great need in society.
Let’s see how this scripture can speak to us today many centuries later.
1. A Place in History: Dorcas was a disciple of Jesus Christ. A little while before this time the Christians were being persecuted in Jerusalem; and as a result, believers were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Scripture tells us that these believers--”those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4).
Maybe Dorcas was one of the ones who heard the Word as a result of these scattered believers. At any rate she became a believer and a devoted follower of Jesus--a disciple. She displayed her love for Christ in very practical ways. Scripture tells us that she was “full of good works and charitable deeds.” “Good works” is a phrase that speaks of general acts of kindness to people but “charitable deeds” is more specific and has to do with acts of mercy that relieve the burdens of the poor and needy. These specific acts of mercy to make life better for these destitute widows was making clothes for them. Dorcas was continually at work meeting the pressing needs of those around her. She didn’t just do these things in a half-hearted manner, but she was filled with such deeds. Apparently she loved to sew and was good at it. She probably saw a piece of beautiful cloth and had ideas about what she could make out of it and who she could make it for. It didn’t just stay at the idea stage, but she made it a reality. She didn’t just do these charitable deeds once in a great while but was always working on some project. It was her lifestyle.
Living at the town of Joppa, an important seaport town located on the Mediterranean coast 30 miles east of Jerusalem, she was in the mainstream where Peter came and preached the good news to Gentiles. This account is sandwiched right in the middle of Saul of Tarsus’ conversion and the account of Cornelius calling for Peter to come and speak to his family. Later this was followed up by Paul’s ministry to the Gentile world.
Dorcas was a disciple who was strategically placed in the right place at the right time to minister to needs that she had been gifted to handle.
In this scripture, you will notice that she is called by two different names--The Hebrew name was Tabitha and her Greek name was Dorcas. Both names meant “gazelle.”