Few people have blessed humanity as much as Thomas A. Edison. His many inventions include the incandescent light bulb, a motion picture machine (first for silent movies and then for “talkies”), the phonograph, and a carbon-button transmitter that paved the way for our modern telephone. There is little doubt that Edison made the most of his life.
It is vital to make the most of what God has given you. One day you will stand before the Lord and hear Him ask, “What did you do with the life I gave you?” No one can answer that question except you.
The Book of Acts records the story of a woman whose life touched many people.
ACTS 9:36–39 (NIV)
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.
37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.
38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
We don’t know a lot about Dorcas. We do know she was a prominent disciple in Joppa. Although her words were never recorded, she left a powerful testimony.
Dorcas was a committed follower of Jesus who was devoted to doing good and helping the poor. Others like her are in recorded history. Also written about in history are those who built their lives on money, fame, pleasure, and power.
It’s interesting to read what some rich and powerful people said as their lives drew to an end.
When American financier Jay Gould died in 1892, his fortune was estimated at $72 million. On his deathbed he said, “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth.1”
Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England in the late 1800s, wrote, “Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.2”
Lord Byron, the great English poet, wrote:
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!3
Dorcas discovered the secret of enjoying life to its fullest. She didn’t seek fulfillment through money, fame, pleasure, or power. She found meaning through following Christ.
The American sculptor Lorado Taft placed lights around the statue of a boy created by the Italian sculptor Donatello. Taft first put the lights on the floor so they would shine upward on the boy’s face. He observed that the shadows caused the face to look disfigured.
Taft arranged the lights in many ways but wasn’t satisfied. Finally, he lit the statue from above. When he stepped back, the boy’s face looked like that of an angel.
What light are you using to illuminate your path through life? If you’ve chosen light from below, your life will be cast in dark shadows. But if you’ve sought God’s light, you can become a brilliant reflection of Him. When you let the love and light of God saturate you, they will eventually shine through you and help light the world around you.
We can see how God’s light shone through Dorcas. Scripture says that she “was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36 NIV). Dorcas reflected God’s love in everything she did.
The Bible records another story of a relatively unknown woman. Shortly before Jesus went to the cross, she brought an alabaster jar and poured the very expensive perfume in it on His head. Some with Jesus rebuked her harshly. They said the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. But instead of condemning the woman, Jesus praised her and rebuked His disciples (Mark 14:6–8). He said, “She did what she could” (v. 8 NIV).
That is the real test of life. Are you doing everything you can? Are you using your talents to the best of your ability? You may feel what you do and say is unimportant—that you are one small voice. But that is the wrong way to think. God is counting on you to get up and influence the lives of those around you!
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. What’s important is to be willing. There’s a lot you can do, should do, and must do. So get started doing something!
Scripture records what Dorcas did. The widows showed Peter the clothing she made for them while she was alive (Acts 9:39.) What motivated Dorcas to be a blessing to so many? Love. And love should be our motivating force in everything we do for others.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wanted to send a Christmas greeting to his workers around the world. He didn’t have much money, so the message had to be short. After thinking for a moment, he knew exactly what to say. He sent a one-word telegram that simply said, “Others.”
William Booth wanted his workers to think only of others. Dorcas had this same attitude. Her priority in life was not herself, but others.
A part of you will never die. Your body may go to the grave, but your influence never dies. Make it count.
Thomas Edison lives on in every light bulb that illuminates a dark room. Alexander Graham Bell lives on in every telephone that rings. Louis Pasteur lives on in every vaccine that is administered. Galileo lives on in every new star that is discovered.
Your influence will live on after you—as either a testimony or a curse. I challenge you to make a positive mark in this life. I would be lying if I told you that is easy. But as I often told my son and daughter when they were growing up, “You and God together make a team that can do anything.”
By ourselves, we are nothing and will likely be defeated. But with God, we can make a lasting difference.
Remember, if you try something and fail, what have you lost? But if you never try, you have already failed.
1 William E. Sangster, “The Home Sickness of the Soul” in Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell, ed. Warren W. Wiersbe (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1994), 48, http://books.google.com/books?id=yD43gM78O1UC&dq.
Kenneth W. Hagin
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