Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Call me Dorcas

Along the line in the history of my church, our Ladies Group took on the name Dorcas. Or women of good works, if you'd rather. I know the story of Dorcas (a.k.a Tabitha), but thought I'd take a closer look and define what it means to be a "Dorcas".

  1. Gazelle. The name Dorcas means Gazelle. It's an antelope known for it's grace and gentleness. This speaks volumes about her character and demeanor. Makes me think she was a Proverbs 31:26 woman: "She opens her mouth with wisdom,and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
  2. Disciple. v 36 starts by describing her as a disciple. A person that surrenders to God's authority and works to do His Will. One who desires to learn more about God and to know Him personally.
  3. Charitable. A gazelle is also known for its swiftness. V 36 says Dorcas was "full of good works and acts of charity". Not only did she look after her own home, she showed concern and was quick to take action to care for the well-being of others (see v39). Grace can also be described as giving or showing love to others at no cost to the recipient, or rather, not because they deserve or have earned your help. Also note the word "full" in the verse, implying that she didn't do these things only occasionally, she appears to have been constantly busy with caring and doing for others. Titus 3:14: And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
  4. Friendly. v39 "..all the widows stood beside him weeping.." Dorcas had been a good friend to these women. She listened to them, she visited them, she clothed them...she laid down her life, her housework and time, to give to them. They wept because they had lost someone they loved and because her death left an empty place in their lives.
  5. Testimony. v42 Her life and death were a testimony of God's goodness and greatness, and because of it, many believed and the good news spread. Philippians 1:12: I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. I also believe it was significant that this account was from Joppa. The same place Jonah was sent from to speak to the Ninevites on God's behalf, and where it was revealed to Peter to share the gospel with the Gentiles. Again, here, the miracle was performed so that the gospel wouldn't just spread throughout Joppa, but to the entire world. Also, almost seems she is describe here in Titus.

Dorcas was just an everyday Jane - she had no great wealth, held no official position, wasn't a great public speaker - but she did what she could. From her home, with her hands and with her whole heart, she showed compassion to others and gave of herself. Sometimes we doubt that we can make any true difference in this world, especially those of us with small or several children who feel like they're confined to their home and have little opportunity make a big impact. But think about Dorcas, and how her simple compassion made a big impact in the spreading of the Gospel.

From your little corner of the world, you're making a larger impact than you may believe or can imagine. Like a pebble that drops in a pond, your actions and influence resonate farther than you think....

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