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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Tabitha’s Gift of Doing Good
By Petra van der Zande


Worried something had happened to her friend, Tabitha banged on the door. Finally she heard a voice, “I’m up on the roof!”

Susanna was busy sorting barley. “Oh, Tabitha! What a surprise!”

“Shalom Susanna!” Tabitha kissed her. “How are you? Missed you in synagogue!”

The old woman pointed to her feet. “It’s too painful to walk.”

Tabitha took a close look at the obviously neglected feet and noticed deep cuts.

“My dear, why didn’t you rub them with oil?”

“I’m too stiff to reach my feet,” Susanna said.

“But can’t your daughter-in-law help you?”

Looking sad, she shook her head. “She’s too busy gossiping with young widows like herself.”

Susanna gratefully looked at her feet that were not only massaged with olive oil, but also smelled nice because of the perfumed myrrh oil. It felt so much better.

“You’re an angel, my dear Dorcas! Thank you!”

Tabitha laughed. “Don’t say that! You never saw my house after a sewing project, or after I’ve been cooking. I’m glad my servant girl does the clean-up.”

“You should get married again,” Susanna said.

Tabitha shook her head. “I don’t have time to take care of a husband.” She stood up. “I have to leave. Visit Miriam. Yesterday, she delivered her first child – a miracle! I hope you can come for the circumcision.”

Laughing, Susanna clapped her hands. “God be praised! Oh, Miriam and the boy will need an amulet.”

Tabitha put her hand on Susanna’s shoulder, and gently said, “My dear, amulets are worthless, only the LORD can and will protect us.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Susanna put a hand over her mouth. ”Old habits die slow. I’m still such a baby believer.”

“But a very dear one!” Tabitha kissed her and made a mental note to sew a warm mantle for this poor widow.

The city of Yaffo lay on a hill overlooking the Great Sea. Its houses were closely built, creating narrow and winding streets. On her way to Miriam’s house, Tabitha’s sandal broke, so she decided first to go to the tanner’s shop situated at the city’s highest point, allowing the sea wind to blow away the stench,

“My beautiful gazelle!” Shimon said when he saw her.

Tabitha laughed. “Shalom Shimon! Can you repair this for me?” She took off her sandal.

“For you I’ll do anything, Tabitha.”

“How’s your wife, Shimon?”

His face fell. “She left me. Couldn’t bear the stench any longer, which can be ground for divorce.” He sighed.

“I’m sorry to hear, Shimon.”

He shrugged, then brightened, “Yes, but now I’m able to receive guests. The wife never wanted them. The smell, you know.”

On her way down, Tabitha found a granddaughter willing to treat her grandmother’s feet on a regular basis. Tabitha gave her the little flask with olive oil.

The potter’s workshop was situated just outside town. Dark clouds blew in from the sea when Tabitha went to buy a new flask, expecting to be back in time before the rains started. However, when the potter’s wife plied her with questions about the Way, she couldn’t leave this spiritual hungry woman and stayed for a long time. By the time Tabitha arrived home she was soaked.
The subsequent cold developed into pneumonia, from which she died.

The believers were devastated and couldn’t believe their beloved friend was no longer with them.

“I’ve heard Peter’s in Lydda,” a man said. “We’ll fetch him.”

A chorus of wails and sobs greeted Peter when he entered the room where Tabitha’s shrouded body lay. The widows showed him the robes and clothing she had made, and couldn’t stop talking about all the good she had done.
Peter sent them out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and then said,

“Tabitha, get up.”

She opened her eyes. “Peter?”

He helped her to her feet. “Come! Let’s turn their mourning into joy!”

The whole town heard about the miracle, and many became believers.

“I’ve decided to stay on a little,” Peter told Tabitha. “You know someone who has room for me?”

“Shimon the Tanner will be thrilled to have you,” Tabitha said. “If you don’t mind the smell.”

Peter shrugged. “They used to tell me I smelled like a fish.”

On their way to Shimon, Tabitha said,

“I saw Yeshua, Peter! It was so wonderful! I wanted to stay, but He told me to go back and continue to use my gift for his glory.”

Peter smiled at her. “You have the gift of doing good, Tabitha!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
I really enjoyed getting to know these early Christians, and I love the bit about the amulet and the "baby believer."

There may have been a few too many characters and scene changes for such a short story...I got lost a few times.

I like that you set this back in ancient times; it makes me appreciate that the spiritual gifts were always with us.
Laury Hubrich 11/29/07
You did pack a lot into this entry. It was very good, though. Keep on writing!
Peter Stone12/08/07
Lovely story about Tabitha from the Bible. However, I got lost when you suddenly changed her name to Dorcas, without explaining it was her name in Greek. I enjoyed watching all the ways she helped people.