One of the “proverbs” of recovery is this: Service keeps us healthy. But in Christ-centered recovery, service does far, far more. Giving of ourselves is central to our ability to enjoy life as Jesus desires and be a blessing to others.
Tabitha had an impressive résumé: She “was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). She wasn’t an apostle, a preacher, a professor, or a famous evangelist. But she assisted others in need. Good deeds didn’t deliver her from difficulties or disease. In fact, she became sick and died. Tabitha, like many others who give of themselves out of genuine love and humility, probably never thought of herself as having any great impact on God’s kingdom. But her death revealed just how much she mattered to so many.
Tabitha’s hometown was Joppa, an ancient seaport on the Mediterranean. Peter was at the time nearby in the town of Lydda. The impact of Tabitha’s illness and death is seen in the disciples’ urgent plea that Peter come immediately (see v. 38). When the apostle arrived, he was shown examples of Tabitha’s love: “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas [Tabitha] had made while she was still with them” (v. 39). What were the results of Tabitha’s service to others? First, she was restored to life by God’s miraculous intervention (see v. 40). Then she became an example for all time to come of God’s life-giving power and grace (see v. 41). Finally, her story led to the salvation of many (see v. 42).
Like Tabitha, we need to make ourselves available continuously in a helping capacity. Our deeds of love bless others in ways we may never know. Indeed, our service makes us shining examples of God’s grace.
This is reality: If you’re not yet serving, you’re not yet recovering.