16. Acts 9:20-43
There are a couple interesting things in this passage to me.
First is Barnabas. Here is a guy who takes a chance on someone. Saul, who is the same guy that approved the stoning of Stephen a couple chapters back, has now become a Christian. As you can imagine the Christians in that area are skeptical of trusting Saul for fear that he could be trying to trick them and put them into prison or worse. At one point Saul had to be lowered in a basket over the wall around the city of Damascus so that the Jews would not kill him. Saul is caught in the middle. The Jews are after him to kill him because he is preaching about Jesus and the Christians are scared to help him for fear of his previous reputation. So, in steps Barnabas. Barnabas takes Saul and brought him to the apostles, tells them his story, and convinces them that he is legit. I wonder what would have happened to Saul if Barnabas had not stood up for him. Remember that Barnabas was mentioned in Acts 4 as one who sold some property and gave the money to the Church. And his name means 'Son of Encouragement.' Nice name. Matches his heart. My name would probably mean something like 'Son of Skepticism.' I would like to be more like Barnabas, more encouraging, more open to what God is doing. When is the last time I took a chance on someone?
The second thing that strikes me in this passage is a simple phrase about a woman named Dorcus. The text simply says, "In Joppa there was a woman named Dorcus who was always doing good and helping the poor." I think it is interesting that Luke connects 'doing good' with 'helping the poor.' There are tons of things that could have come next, but the one thing he mentions in association with doing good is helping the poor. Not helping her family. Not cooking for church dinners. Not being a youth sponsor. Not driving the carpool. Not being a cub scout leader. Not volunteering at the nursing home. Not adopting a highway. There is only one thing mentioned in association with doing good and that is helping the poor.