Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sewing And The Bible

As you already know, I love sewing. Dresses, dolls, bags, ties... Sewing is an important part of my life. Thankfully, the Lord has allowed me to learn rather quickly when it comes to this skill. I went from barely able to sew a square pillow that wasn't misshapen to where I am today with barely any help. In fact, the most help I had up until about a year ago was mostly criticism from people outside my home on what I had done wrong rather than what I did right. I've been blessed with people who genuinely care and have helped me in my learning process.
You're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up, aren't you?
My Bible reading during dinner was in Acts today. After reading about the conversion of Saul, I came to the story of Tabitha or Dorcas in chapter nine. I'll be honest, I had never really given much thought to this woman before. Her story isn't a very long one, only eight verses long. We don't even really know much about Dorcas, really. All the Bible tells us is that she 'was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.' and that she grew sick and died.
But then I read verse 39. The Bible says the widows showed Peter the coats and garments Dorcas had made them as they wept. Maybe it's just me, but I like to think those must have been some good quality, nice looking garments! Surely a woman as highly praised as Dorcas would not have half done a sewing project or slapped together worn, ragged scraps for clothing to give these she ministered to, I would think. No, if I were a guessing person, Dorcas most likely had made these people very nice pieces of clothing, and not just a few!
Thinking about Dorcas got me to thinking about sewing in the Bible. The Proverbs 31 woman sewed and did handwork (verses 13, 19, 21, 22, 24) and I know many women use this as their goals for being a godly woman. She provided clothing for her household and herself, and her merchandise was good, apparently well sought after.
But sewing goes back farther than that in the Bible. All the way to Genesis 3:7 in the garden where Adam and Eve, after realizing they were naked, sewed fig leaves together. Then God kills an animal and use the skin to make coats for Adam and Eve, probably the saddest making of clothing in the Bible. What a drastic contrast to Dorcas and the Proverbs 31 woman's sewing!
Sewing is a great skill for women to have as wives and mother's. Even if you can't sew a huge ball gown, you ought at least be able to patch and mend clothing. It's just common sense! But there is something to be said for those who develop this skill and learn to use it more than just for personal gain or pleasure, I feel. It's the woman who takes the talent God has given her and becomes a Dorcas, who uses what her hands create to comfort and help others, who sees needs and tries to fill them with what she can make... It's this woman who deserves a special recognition!
Dorcas used the ability God gave her to bless others. She didn't hoard it, sewing only fine garments for herself so she could appear better dressed than those around her. No, look at who it was who showed what she had made or them- widows.
Probably poor, unable to care for themselves, and most likely barely able to find their meals. These were the ones who brought Dorcas' blessings to show Peter. It wasn't rich, high class women of society. It was noblemen of high rank. It wasn't princes. All these people could have paid  anyone to make fine coats and garments for them. It was the widows. These widows were probably unable to repay Dorcas' kindness to them, but still they had been blessed by this godly woman, who the Lord decided was important enough to have her story told in the Bible. No doubt Dorcas had won many friends who were genuinely grieved at her death because of her kindness and compassion for them even though she knew they'd never be able to repay her with anything but friendship.
I think a great role model for women today would be Dorcas. She was busy working and blessing others. Her life was cut short because of illness but the Lord allowed her to be raised from the dead, something which caused many to trust Christ as their Savior.
Thinking about it, the Bible says many believed in the Lord. I don't know about you but I would guess that when the story of her rising from the dead spread, most people probably already knew who she was and that caused it to go even further. I can just imagine some poor widow telling her friends of Dorcas being brought to life again and of the Lord as she showed them the warm coat Dorcas had sewn for her!
Do you think this woman got up and said 'Now I can serve myself, I'm relieved of any obligation to help anyone again'? I doubt it. I have all idea she went right back to making garments and coats and robes to help those in need around her.
I, for one, would love when my life is over for those who knew me to say I was another Dorcas- someone who helped those in need without asking in return- because to me, I think that would be even greater a compliment than to say I was a Proverbs 31 woman or a Titus 2 woman.
So, if I can encourage you, as your sister in the Lord, to do anything this year, I'd probably say "Take up sewing". Start small. Learn, and don't rush yourself through the learning process. And once you have reached the point where you can make anything to help someone who is in need, help them! Find a place to donate baby blankets, or remake coats and give them to homeless shelters as the weather turns cold. Anywhere you can use this skill, do it and remember to give God the glory while you do. Be the next Dorcas!