Tabitha is my pal.
I realise that I say this in the same way that I would say the TV characters are my pals, or celebrities, athletes, etc., but there is a difference. Firstly, unlike the TV characters, Tabitha was an actual person. And while I've never met her, she is also my sister in Christ, so one day I will.
I've never heard a sermon preached on Tabitha, never spent an entire Bible class talking about her, although it is possible that she has been included in an "Other Women"-type class, giving an overview of all the women in the Bible who do not get much of a mention. Tabitha's place in history is a mere six verses in Acts 9, yet she is my role model, one of the people upon whom I have chosen to model my life. Here are the highlights:
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha...; this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room...When (Peter) arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Tabitha used to make while she was with them.
Of course, the next part of the story is that Peter raises Tabitha from the dead, and many people hear about it and believe in the Lord. But these verses sum up what I mean. God has given me the ability to make things, to be kind to others, and (when I am paying attention) to see needs before they are expressed. About eight months ago I decided that, while making baby and wedding gifts for my friends is well and good (and also lots of fun), there is a good chance that God has given me this ability for greater purposes that filling my friends' houses with more stuff. Tabitha made useful things for people; she saw needs and filled them continually. Unfortunately, I managed to get caught up in a flurry of new baby and wedding (not to mention Christmas) gifts in the eight months since this decision, so thus far I have made no move toward deeds of kindness and charity, nor toward making useful things for people who do not have them.
This is probably the juncture to mention that I am also uncertain how to begin; after all, my expertise lies in crocheted baby blankets and cute little cross-stitched designs with names and dates on them. Time to pay attention to what is happening around me.