Bible Ladies (Part 6): Dorcas


Young Woman Sewing by Thomas Couture 

Acts 9 gives us one of the resurrection accounts of the Bible. A disciple named Dorcas or Tabitha is raised, not by Jesus but by the apostle Peter. This sister in Christ had an incredible reputation of good works. Here is the account:

“A woman who was a follower lived in the city of Joppa. Her name was Tabitha, or Dorcas. She did many good things and many acts of kindness.  One day she became sick and died. After they had washed her body, they laid her in a room on the second floor.  The city of Lydda was near Joppa. The followers heard that Peter was at Lydda and sent two men to ask him to come at once.  Peter went back with them. When he came, they took him to the room. All the women whose husbands had died were standing around crying. They were showing the clothes Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter made them all leave the room. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. He turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes and looked at Peter and sat up.  He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then he called in the faithful followers and the women whose husbands had died. He gave her to them, a living person.  News of this went through all Joppa. Many people put their trust in the Lord (verses 36-42).”

Many churches today are caught up in titles. Whether it be Pastor White, the Apostle Black, the Minister Greene, or Meet-them-at-the door-and-say- they-are-welcome Brown, we seem to find a place for titles.  Dorcas, however, bears no “title” but only a descriptor – “follower.”  Here is a woman, though, who the widows of the church openly wept for, and who displayed the fruits of her service – “the clothes she had made” for said widows.” This servant (minister), and helper (deaconess) bears neither of these titles.

It wasn’t about recognition.  It wasn’t about position.  It was about exercising the gifts given to her by the Spirit, whether “officially” sanctioned or no. She, a follower of Christ, fulfilled the second great commandment – she loved her neighbour.

Dorcas shows us that it is enough to be brother or sister White, Black, Greene, or Brown.  And better still it is enough just to be Jill, Tom, Ben, or Sally. We are family – beyond titles – those very crowns we will ultimately cast before the throne.

But more than her humble – but spiritually exalted calling, she was one willing to give what she had to offer.  Much like the widow in the temple which Jesus witnessed offering the two mites. She too “put in  [what] . . . she had ( Luke 21: 4).”

The lessons then that we can take away from Dorcas are 1) be prepared to aid with whatever gifts we have been blessed with; 2) those contributions may well have a greater impact than we can imagine in the lives of others; 3) serve as reflection of Him within us, not as a showcase for our own egos; 4) titles are not an end in themselves, but a reflection of 1, 2, and 3 in our lives.



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