(The following is Sherard’s Worship Wilson column for the Wilson Post published 6/22/22.)
Two Types of Miracles
Have you witnessed a miracle lately? Have you performed a miracle? In the pages of the New Testament, we read of Jesus raising the dead, casting out spirits, healing the sick, and feeding thousands with what he finds in some kid’s lunch box. Even the disciples performed miracles.
Most of us live lives of quiet faith believing in miracles but not really expecting to witness them, much less perform them. Personally, I find miracles intimidating.
The book of Acts tells us about a wonderful woman named Tabitha. She lived in the city of Joppa and was greatly loved by all who knew her. She was a woman of deep faith who devoted her life to doing good things for others.
Sadly, Tabatha died, and the entire Christian community in Joppa wept for her. When Tabitha’s friends heard that the great apostle Peter was nearby, they sent for him. I’m not sure why they did this. Tabitha was clearly dead. Were they looking for Peter to come and produce a miracle? I doubt it.
But I do believe that Tabitha was so loved and admired that her friends thought it fitting that a spiritual leader of Peter’s stature should be present to acknowledge her life and her death.
When Peter is brought to Tabitha, he finds her surrounded by grieving women—widows—who tearfully hold out the cloaks and tunics and other items of clothing that Tabitha, over the years, had sewn for them.
Peter asks everyone to step outside. He kneels down and prays. Then he says, Tabitha, get up and she does.
What Peter does is clearly a miracle. He raises Tabitha from the dead. Only a very few people in scripture are brought back to life. Normally, the dead stay dead.
As I said, miracles are intimidating. But I find it helpful to separate miracles into two categories—big miracles and small miracles. Big miracles are just that—large, splashy, and attention getting. But small miracles, although generally unnoticed, are still to be treasured. These are the little things we do every day for others in the name of Jesus Christ.
We find evidence of these small miracles in Tabitha’s good deeds. She made clothes for widows.
If you were to ask Tabitha if sewing a tunic is a miracle, she would say no. It is just something she likes to do. For a poor widow, however, receiving a tunic would be a miracle. The cans of food that we collect at church are not miracles to us, but to a hungry family, they may well be. For someone with no place to stay on a cold night, the shelter provided through the Compassionate Hands ministry is a miracle. The dollars we give to charity are little green miracles we send out into the world.
As people of faith, we should not only expect miracles, but we should strive to do them as well. Like Tabitha, we have it within us to perform small miracles each and every day. What miracle will you do today?
Sherard Edington has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon for 11 years. Worship Wilson is a weekly column written by pastors and people of faith.