Earlier I announced a new series to the blog: female role models in the Bible! I am excited to begin this series, but before we jump right in, I’d like to give a bit of an explanation about why I wanted to write these posts.
A few months ago David and I were reading the book of Acts, when I came across a passage about a woman named Dorcas. Her story was quite short, and I was left wondering who exactly this woman was. I was also amazed that she seemed to have such a large impact on people of her time yet not many of us in present day are familiar with her. It was then I expressed my desire for a book with all the info about all the women in the Bible (you can read about that here). I sought out information on Dorcas and began to study all that I could about her. She is the reason for this series, because I thought other women might be interested to know what i learned about her, as well as other admirable women in the Bible.
Let’s read Dorcas’ story in Acts 9:36-42
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
So in just 6 short verses we are introduced to Dorcas (also known as Tabitha, but I am referring to her as Dorcas) as she is on her deathbed. What caught my attention is that the widows who knew Dorcas brought the clothing Dorcas had made for them, which shows that she was a very skilled seamstress, and that she was very giving. We know that she was willing to selflessly help those who were less fortunate than her, and obviously those she helped were grateful.
As someone who likes to sew, I enjoyed knowing that Dorcas had used her talents for good, and no doubt ministered to people about God as she was handing out robes and garments. Imagine what it must have been like to be the recipient of such a gift! Perhaps there were people who heard Dorcas yet still weren’t quite ready to follow God yet. Perhaps they were among those who mourned for her, and bore witness to her being raised from the dead! At the end of Dorcas’ story in Acts we are told that the news of her being alive again spread all over the area, and many people believed in the Lord. How amazing is that?!
I believe Dorcas ministered to and aided the down trodden because she truly desired to serve God. She knew her purpose was to bring Him glory and share the good news with whomever she could. It’s probable that Dorcas was a woman of means, since she was able to actually make clothing for the poor and the widows, instead of giving them her cast offs. Even today, making clothing takes money, so imagine how much it would take in present day to donate enough clothing to just one homeless shelter. Dorcas was well off, but instead of being selfish with her money, she used it, and her talents, to reach people for Christ.
Why Dorcas is a Role Model:
- genuinely served God
- was a woman of means but used it to further God’s work
- had a heart for the poor and the windowed
- her life was such a testimony to God that upon hearing her story, people believed in Him
What we can learn from Dorcas:
No matter what skills, talents, or gifts you have, God can use them! As followers of Christ we should be looking for ways to serve Him using our own unique abilities, because there are all kinds of ways to reach people. Our goal in life should be to do everything for His glory, so that we leave behind a legacy that points people to God. Dorcas may not have set out with that in mind, but it’s something I believe we should be striving for.