My Name Is Tabitha

My Name Is Tabitha

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.

My Name Is Peter

My Name Is Peter

All of us, without exception, need a sponsor and/or accountability partner—someone who can confront us with truth and love without placing shame and guilt. A sponsor must demonstrate compassion, care, and hope—but not pity.

In John 21 we see an ideal sponsor working to help Peter in his recovery. Peter had publicly denied ever knowing Jesus—the man who was his Lord, his teacher and his best friend. He needed to get back on the road to recovery, to undergo some authentic character changes. To Peter’s credit, note that, even in the pain of his failure, he stayed with his group (see vv. 1–3).

Jesus himself filled the role of the sponsor/accountability partner for his fallen disciple. He sought Peter out, fed him (see vv. 4-14) and showed him compassion before he moved to confrontation. Then Jesus took Peter aside to help him face his pain and shame (see vv. 15-22). Jesus’ words to Peter included a call to evaluate his love for Jesus and to minister to others (see vv. 15-17). How would this disciple take the first step? The Lord gave him a simple instruction: “Follow me!” (21:19)

In recovery, we are called to honestly examine the past and face our pain and shame so that our love for Jesus can continue to grow. We are able to do this by making attendance at our recovery meetings a priority, maintaining an honest view of ourselves, staying connected to a group, getting involved in service, and maintaining spiritual contact with Jesus through prayer and study.

How do we know our love for Jesus is growing? How do we know when we are following him? We know we love the Lord when we think less about ourselves and more about the needs of others.