Devotional: ‘God-first, Others-second, and Self-last


Acts 9:39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. ESV

Apparently Tabitha was a seamstress. Scripture says that she sewed clothing for the widows. How did making a few simple garments make her so important in the church?

Here is the secret to Tabitha’s success –

1. God-first

2. Others-second

3. Self-last

Though that sounds like a simple formula, most of us know that it is hard to live out. Often our formula for success says: “Self-first and everyone else fit in wherever.” It’s unfortunate but even God can sometimes be used for selfish gain.


Tabitha’s reasoning wasn’t – “What can I do that will cause others to notice me?” She didn’t sew a label in each garment that said – DRESSES BY DORCAS. She didn’t go around asking others – “Did you see what a great job I did?” She just simply did what needed to be done. Probably Tabitha thought – “What can I do to help these poor widows? I know, I can help them to have clothes.” I’m sure that Tabitha had no idea of the impact she was making upon the church.

Perhaps Peter wondered at first why these two men would come so far and seem so desperate for him to come to with them. Perhaps he was even a bit hesitant, knowing that there were so many other needs that needed to be met. But when he stepped into the room where Tabitha laid, he knew why he had been brought to Joppa. The Bible says – “All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” The testimony of Tabitha’s greatness could be seen through the garments the widows were wearing.

I admit it, I can barely sew on a button. Sometimes when I do, I use so much thread that you can hardly get the button through the button hole. There are lots of things that I can’t do, but there are other things that I can do. The Apostle Paul wrote –

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Tabitha didn’t set out to be someone special. She just simply took what God had given her and invested it in the lives of others. Tabitha’s secret was:

God-first, Others-second, and Self-last

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