Dorcas, also called Tabitha, is a New Testament woman of the Bible. You will find her story in the book of Acts, chapter 9 verses 36 to 42. Although there is not a great deal told about her, the little that is said is enough to show that she was a godly woman who was loved and respected in the Christian community of Joppa.
We know that she followed Christ because the Bible describes her as a disciple and we know too, that she was well known for doing good and for helping the poor. In the Acts story, she became sick and died. Her friends were devastated. They had lost someone they loved and who was an important part of the family of believers. However, they had faith that God would do something. So much so, that they sent men to travel the twelve miles to the town of Lydda, to find the apostle Peter and to ask him to come at once.
When Peter did come, they took him directly to the upstairs room where they had placed Dorcas' body. All the widows were there, mourning. They stood around Peter, weeping and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made.
Sending everyone out of the room, Peter got down on his knees and prayed. Then he said "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes and sat up. God had restored her life. Peter took her by the hand, helped her to her feet, and presented her to her friends.
Her Greek name, Dorcas, means "the female of a roebuck," "a gazelle" and "emblem of beauty," as does her Aramaic name, Tabitha.
The Bible text does not tell us whether she possessed physical beauty but we know that she was beautiful in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the widows and the poor that she helped.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 says that women are to gain respect, not by physical beauty, but by the good deeds that are appropriate for women who worship God.
James 1:27 explains that pure religion, in the eyes of God, is that we look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ourselves uncorrupted by worldly values.
Dorcas' work of making clothes and helping the poor may sound insignificant when compared to the outstanding works of the apostles, but they were enough to gain the love of her community and enough that God saw fit to restore her life. It's our love for God and the love we share with others that makes us beautiful in God's sight. Dorcas was a good woman who was so loved by the family of believers that they prayed for a miracle and God granted it.
Something to think about:
- What is your contribution to your church? To the poor in your community? To widows and orphans?
- What seemingly insignificant talent or ability do you possess that would mean a great deal to someone in need?
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