Dorcas, “…was always doing good and helping the poor.”
Something I’ve noted that is a little distressing is when Christians compare themselves to other Christians. I bet we all have known someone that we felt really knows the Bible. They can pull verses out of their head that apply to any subject you might bring up. We are amazed. Of course, we should all be in the Word daily, growing in our understanding, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage that, but what we do with this knowledge is key. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father…” (Matthew 7: 21) Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 10). James said, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2: 18) This takes us back to that comparing business. “It seems other Christians are doing so much more than me.” This brings me to the story of Dorcas. You can read about her in Acts 9: 36-42.
The name Dorcas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name, Tabitha. Luke said she was a disciple, a follower of the Lord Jesus. Dorcas, “…was always doing good and helping the poor.” (vs. 36) She was skilled as a sewer, and would make clothes for the needy. When she became ill and died, “all the widows stood around her.” This verse makes me think that she, too, was a widow. Now we know from history that the life of a widow in the ancient world was very difficult, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, she did what she could to help others. We can learn from her life. We are all given spiritual gifts, and they are all important. Some can preach, some teach, some are missionaries, some sew.
But the story of Dorcas doesn’t end here. Peter was summoned to her bedside. Peter prayed for her, and his prayers were answered. God brought her back from the dead. The effect this humble women, who only wanted to make clothes for the needy, had on her community was felt immediately. Her coming back from the dead, “…became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9: 42) it’s hard to imagine that this humble women who made clothes for the poor ever felt she would have this effect on the people around her. But, guess what. There are groups of people today in many places who get together to make clothes for the poor. They call themselves ‘Dorcas Societies.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.