Monday, January 7, 2013

Reaping What You Sew Part 1

Priscilla was a seamstress in the Bible.  Her story is found in Acts 18 and throughout the New Testament.  There isn’t a lot told of Priscilla, but we can see from the brief mentions of her throughout the epistles, that she was a Godly woman, who was a worker in the kingdom.  Priscilla was a tent-maker and worked alongside her husband Aquila.  She is never mentioned in the scriptures by herself, but always with her husband. 
Priscilla practiced hospitality.  Perhaps because of sharing the common occupation of tent making, or perhaps because of sharing the common faith, Paul stayed with them.  In Acts 18:11; we see that Paul lived there about 18 months.  That is hospitality!  The couple and Paul formed a working relationship and their love and service to God kept them together as they traveled.   Priscilla and Aquila also showed hospitality by having a church meet in their home, Romans 16:5.  This seemed to be a common practice for them, as they are mentioned doing this several times in the New Testament.
Priscilla and Aquila were also missionaries, spreading the gospel with Paul and on their own.  In Acts 18:24 we can read that they had influence over Apollos and helped him to understand the scriptures more plainly.  It’s interesting here to me that in many verses, Priscilla is mentioned first, but when it comes to teaching someone else; Aquila’s name comes first.  Priscilla was a submissive wife.  Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for Paul’s life (Romans 16:4) and this benefited not only Paul, but also the churches in that area.
I view Priscilla as a strong woman, willing to work and serve the Lord wherever she lived and in difficult circumstances.  We see in her faithfulness, kindness and longsuffering. 
Another Biblical seamstress was Dorcas.  Dorcas, was also called Tabitha and her story is found in Acts 9:36-42. Although there is not a great deal told about her, the little that is said is enough to show that she was a godly woman who was loved and respected in the Christian community of Joppa.

We know that she followed Christ because the Bible describes her as a disciple and we know too, that she was well known for doing good and for helping the poor. In the Acts account, she became sick and died. Her friends were devastated. They had lost someone they loved and who was an important part of the family of believers. But they had faith that God would do something. So much so, that they sent men to travel twelve miles to the town of Lydda, to find the apostle Peter and to ask him to come.

When Peter did come, they took him directly to the upstairs room where they had placed Dorcas’ body. All the widows were there mourning. They stood around Peter, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made.  Sending them out of the room, Peter got down on his knees and prayed. Then he said “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes and sat up. God had restored her life. Peter took her by the hand, helped her to her feet, and presented her to her friends.

Dorcas’ works of stitching clothes and helping the poor may sound simple in comparison to the more visible works of Priscilla, but they were enough to gain the love of her community and enough that God saw fit to restore her life.  She was described as being “full of good works and charitable deeds.”  She did not need a women’s liberation movement to make her feel like somebody, she knew what she was and who she was.  Dorcas was a servant and because of that attitude of the heart, she was truly loved.  Dorcas was a good woman who was so loved by the family of believers that they prayed for a miracle and God granted it.
Dorcas was a woman with a giving heart and we can see in her love, kindness and goodness.
These two Biblical women were stitching two totally different items – Dorcas sewing clothing, made probably of linen and cotton and Priscilla sewing tents, made of thick, twisted goat hair.  Their works were different as well – Dorcas probably served God in a quiet way, making garments for the widows and those in need while Priscilla was a teacher seen with her husband teaching others, providing a meeting place for the local church.  However, they were both serving God and were a great benefit to the church. 
Next time, we'll see what we can apply to our own lives through these Biblical women's examples.   

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