September 11, 2016 by Joseph Krohn
There was a guy who prayed this prayer every morning: “Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is.” One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him. The bus was nearly empty but this guy sat next to our praying friend. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep. He then cried out with a loud voice, “I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner and I need the Lord. Won’t somebody tell me how to be saved?” He turned to the Christian and pleaded, “Can you show me how to be saved?” The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, is this a sign?”
“Be a good witness by the way you live. The way we live is often more convincing than the words we say.” – Billy Graham
The life of a woman named Dorcas shows us the importance of being a missionary RIGHT at home.
God wants us to be like Dorcas, and use our talents on the Mission Field – RIGHT HERE
The Heart of a Hometown Missionary:
A) A Hometown Missionary IGNITES their own heart to love and serve Jesus:
- v.36 Dorcas is described as “a disciple” or a “believer” or simply a “Christian.” She was known as a “disciple” – a learner or student of the Teacher. Being a disciple involves more than the initial act of trusting Christ.
- A disciple follows the example of Jesus — 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
B) A Hometown Missionary INITIATES the work of a missionary RIGHT around them:
- She was from Joppa and so that is where her ministry began. Her name means “Gazelle” – GIVES us a picture of her character. She was quick to give… quick to love… quick to share.
- She was “full of good works” (v.36) – FULL is the adjective here – showing us that her action was to “repeatedly do good.” “Good works and almsdeeds” – lit. full of kindness and charity
- Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect [don’t forget] to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
C) A Hometown Missionary IMPACTS people RIGHT around them:
- v. 37-38 – Dorcas was a light and comfort to her community – the people didn’t want to lose her and so they heard that Peter was in Lydda, near Joppa and so they sent out an earnest appeal for him to come without delay!
- Dorcas was a seamstress – her acts of service and charity to the people was clearly seen by Peter — “ALL the widows stood around him weeping and showing the coats and garments that Dorcas made” (v.39)
- God gives us the passions that He does for us to use in service for Him. For Dorcas it was her needle and thread… for others it can be whatever God has given you — a garden to share; a song to sing; time volunteered to help a neighbour, etc.
D) A Hometown Missionary INVITES others to Jesus RIGHT around them:
- Dorcas’ life was drawing people to God.
- Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.]
- Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
- v.41-42 – Peter “called all the saints and widows and presented her to them” — “And it was known throughout ALL Joppa and many believed” — A SURRENDERED life brings glory to God in death or in life.
(Story from the God’s Revivalist):
Oscar Johnson was a barber in the Cincinnati area for over forty years. He was a quiet, gentle, and unassuming man who was liked by everyone. He enjoyed perfect health, not missing a day of work for sickness in 43 years. However, in May of 2005 (died in Aug. 2007) a few sharp pains in his back led to a diagnosis of stage-four cancer. It was so advanced that immediate surgery had to be performed to stabilize the lower vertebrae so his back would not collapse. It was all so sudden that it left everyone breathless and bewildered —everyone but Oscar. After six hours of extremely dangerous surgery, he told his family, “This has been a wonderful day. My family and all those I love have been here together today.” AFTER his surgery Oscar was beaming – literally smiling from ear to ear! He said, “The insurance policy I took out with God forty years ago works! Every promise is true. He is working out every detail. I’m in a win-win situation.”
The outpouring of concern was overwhelming. His customers span the religious scale from Catholics to Buddhists and Muslims to Protestants. They wrote over two hundred cards and made at least a thousand phone calls. Why? Because Oscar left a clear witness to Christ to everyone who sat in his chair. A Muslim medical doctor was so impacted by Oscar’s life that he asked Oscar the secret to his happiness. This was a chance for Oscar to gently point him to Jesus. The doctor brought his father from Iran to meet Oscar so he could see “the happiest man in the world.” — students, teachers, professors, lawyers, business leaders, and even a Hell’s Angel-type rebel, all who were drawn to Oscar’s bedside to stand for a few moments in the presence of a man who showed them Christ by the very life he lived.
So many people in the world long to see Jesus, and God is always faithful to reveal Himself. We catch a glimpse of Him here in a barber shop, cutting hair.
- Be a hometown missionary, like Dorcas and like Oscar RIGHT where God has placed you!