TABITHA: PROFITABLE REWARD FOR HOSPITALITY AND GOOD DEEDS
The word “disciple” from our text literally means “learner.” Tabitha was a disciple of Jesus Christ; learning from the Lord. She was full of good works and charitable deeds. She didn’t just do a few good works, but she was full of good works. “….this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did” (Acts 9:36). She lived her life to help others. We, too, need to be full of good works. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). The good we do is primarily to the Christians, “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” However, we don’t stop there; let us do good to all. God expects us to be full of charitable deeds. We may not have much to give, but we still need to find ways to give. Little is much when God is in it, labor not for wealth or fame, there’s a crown and you can win it, if you’ll go, work, serve, in Jesus’ name.
The people of God are using their gifts and abilities in many ways, but there’s room for much more, and it’s not important how much you have to offer, what’s important is how you offer it. And if the church or fellowship is going to be what God wants it to be, we’ll have to have a heart for love and care about people! Our environment is full of tens of thousands of real people with real needs.
A true Christian looks at the needs around him and just does what needs to be done, without being asked; without expectation of reward; without expectation of thanks; with nothing more at heart than a desire to love and act like Jesus Christ. That is what defines the people of God.
Every good deed will be honoured with an appropriate reward, the law works both ways; “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister”. Good deeds are to some degree their own reward. Deeds done merely for the sake of reward are never good.
- PRINCIPLES REGULATING ACTS OF HOSPITALITY AND GOOD DEEDS
Acts 9:36; Luke 14:12-14; 6:32-36; Matthew 5:42-46; 6:1-4; Deuteronomy 15:7,8; Leviticus 25:35-37; Romans 12:8; 2Corinthians 9:7
Tabitha spent her life in acts of hospitality and alms-deeds. Her soul was full of love to God and man; and her whole time was filled up with works of piety and mercy. She was distinguished for good works and acts of kindness to the poor. She was eminent for the activities and generosities of the Christian character. Our Lord enjoins us to live more for charity by a spirit of giving without motives of reaping something from the giving, “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:13-14). Genuine benevolence will lead those who have it to do good for goodness’ sake, rather than for any expected reward.
The Spirit of God resident in a believer purifies and renews the heart of a believer, causing it to resemble that of Christ through whom the grace came. The love of Christ has no boundary, and we are to love even our enemies. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; ….and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (Luke 6:35), this is the fundamental law of Christ’s kingdom. Our Lord teaches that our religion is worth little if it begets in us no higher love than that which is shown by natural, worldly men. The regulation of our hospitality and good deeds shall be their necessity and our ability.
- PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF ACTS OF HOSPITALITY AND GOOD DEEDS
Acts 9:39; 1John 3:17; Acts 11:29; Luke 3:11; Galatians 6:10; 1Timothy 6:17-19; 1Corinthians 16:1; Hebrews 13:2,16; Romans 12:13;
We are expected as brethren to help one another with our goods and substances. It is easy to teach about love than to demonstrate it. “…and all the widows stood by him weeping and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.” We can see act of love in demonstration, they had lost a benefactress; and it was natural that they should recall her kindness, and express their gratitude by enumerating the proofs of her beneficence. Whatever love we may pretend to people, if we are not charitable and benevolent, we falsify our profession. If we have not bowels of compassion, we have not the love of God in us; if we shut up our bowels against the poor, we shut Christ out of our hearts, and ourselves out of heaven. It is practical, not speculative, that counts in the hour of need. We should be that kind of church, where when one suffers, all suffer, and want to take them food! Someone having a baby? let’s shower them with presents and assistance! Any needs or problems…let’s fix it for God’s glory!
It is not that we are to do it when it is convenient; or when it will advance our interest; or when it may contribute to our fame; but we are to do it when we have the opportunity, no matter how often that occurs. More often our prayer goes unanswered because we are unkind and uncharitable towards each other. How can we demonstrate the love of God? “….He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise” (Luke 3:11). The practical acts of hospitality and good deeds should be done: (i) Unconditionally (Ex 23:9; Lev 19:33-34; Rom.12:20-21) (ii) Generously (Lev 19:10; 25:35) (iii) Cheerfully (1 Pet 4:9) (iv) Regularly (Rom. 12:13) (v)Sincerely (Romans 12:9) (vi) Dutifully (2Corinthians 12:14) (vii) Willingly (1Timothy 6:17-19)
The acts of hospitality and good deeds should be done as an expression of the Golden Rule (Ex. 12:49; Lev. 19:34)
- PROFITABLE REWARD FOR ACTS OF HOSPITALITY AND GOOD DEEDS
Acts 9:36-41; Matthew 10:42; 25:34-36; Psalm 37:25,26; 41:1; Hebrews 6:10; 1Corinthians 15:58; 3:8; Proverbs 19:17; 28:27; 22:9; Ecclesiastes 11:1; 2Peter 3:14;
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Jesus Christ considers himself to be treated by men as they treat his own disciples. “He that hath pity upon the poor lend unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17). The best investment of our property is in deeds of loving-kindness. What you do for the honor of God will not only be attended with an approving conscience, and with happiness here, but will be met with the glorious and eternal rewards of heaven. This should make us excited to toil and self-denial by the prospect of immortal glory; and by the assurance that our hopes are not in vain.
Persons who are very benevolent and useful in touching other people’s life, will be affectionately remembered, and greatly lamented in death; and all their works performed from love to God and to men, will meet a gracious and abundant reward, not only with spiritual and eternal, but with temporal blessings.