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
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Susanna was busy sorting barley. â€śOh, Tabitha! What a surprise!â€ť
â€śShalom Susanna!â€ť Tabitha kissed her. â€śHow are you? Missed you in synagogue!â€ť
The old woman pointed to her feet. â€śItâ€™s too painful to walk.â€ť
Tabitha took a close look at the obviously neglected feet and noticed deep cuts.
â€śMy dear, why didnâ€™t you rub them with oil?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m too stiff to reach my feet,â€ť Susanna said.
â€śBut canâ€™t your daughter-in-law help you?â€ť
Looking sad, she shook her head. â€śSheâ€™s too busy gossiping with young widows like herself.â€ť
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.
â€śYouâ€™re an angel, my dear Dorcas! Thank you!â€ť
Tabitha laughed. â€śDonâ€™t say that! You never saw my house after a sewing project, or after Iâ€™ve been cooking. Iâ€™m glad my servant girl does the clean-up.â€ť
â€śYou should get married again,â€ť Susanna said.
Tabitha shook her head. â€śI donâ€™t have time to take care of a husband.â€ť She stood up. â€śI have to leave. Visit Miriam. Yesterday, she delivered her first child â€“ a miracle! I hope you can come for the circumcision.â€ť
Laughing, Susanna clapped her hands. â€śGod be praised! Oh, Miriam and the boy will need an amulet.â€ť
Tabitha put her hand on Susannaâ€™s shoulder, and gently said, â€śMy dear, amulets are worthless, only the LORD can and will protect us.â€ť
â€śOh, Iâ€™m so sorry!â€ť Susanna put a hand over her mouth. â€ťOld habits die slow. Iâ€™m still such a baby believer.â€ť
â€śBut a very dear one!â€ť 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 Miriamâ€™s house, Tabithaâ€™s sandal broke, so she decided first to go to the tannerâ€™s shop situated at the cityâ€™s highest point, allowing the sea wind to blow away the stench,
â€śMy beautiful gazelle!â€ť Shimon said when he saw her.
Tabitha laughed. â€śShalom Shimon! Can you repair this for me?â€ť She took off her sandal.
â€śFor you Iâ€™ll do anything, Tabitha.â€ť
â€śHowâ€™s your wife, Shimon?â€ť
His face fell. â€śShe left me. Couldnâ€™t bear the stench any longer, which can be ground for divorce.â€ť He sighed.
â€śIâ€™m sorry to hear, Shimon.â€ť
He shrugged, then brightened, â€śYes, but now Iâ€™m able to receive guests. The wife never wanted them. The smell, you know.â€ť
On her way down, Tabitha found a granddaughter willing to treat her grandmotherâ€™s feet on a regular basis. Tabitha gave her the little flask with olive oil.
The potterâ€™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 potterâ€™s wife plied her with questions about the Way, she couldnâ€™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 couldnâ€™t believe their beloved friend was no longer with them.
â€śIâ€™ve heard Peterâ€™s in Lydda,â€ť a man said. â€śWeâ€™ll fetch him.â€ť
A chorus of wails and sobs greeted Peter when he entered the room where Tabithaâ€™s shrouded body lay. The widows showed him the robes and clothing she had made, and couldnâ€™t stop talking about all the good she had done.
Peter sent them out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and then said,
â€śTabitha, get up.â€ť
She opened her eyes. â€śPeter?â€ť
He helped her to her feet. â€śCome! Letâ€™s turn their mourning into joy!â€ť
The whole town heard about the miracle, and many became believers.
â€śIâ€™ve decided to stay on a little,â€ť Peter told Tabitha. â€śYou know someone who has room for me?â€ť
â€śShimon the Tanner will be thrilled to have you,â€ť Tabitha said. â€śIf you donâ€™t mind the smell.â€ť
Peter shrugged. â€śThey used to tell me I smelled like a fish.â€ť
On their way to Shimon, Tabitha said,
â€śI 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.â€ť
Peter smiled at her. â€śYou have the gift of doing good, Tabitha!â€ť
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