Have You Met the Disciple Named Dorcas?
by Naomi @ What Joy Is Mine
Dorcas is the only woman specifically called a disciple in the Bible. “Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.” (Acts 9:36) She was a disciple known for doing good and helping the needy. Dorcas was a disciple of Christ. In the little that is written about her, we learn much about her. Let’s look at what she teaches us through her life and what others say about her.
First and foremost, we learn she is a disciple of Jesus. She embraced her faith in Christ and served in a way that demonstrated that faith. She was recognized by her dutiful heart to do good to others in honor of the One she served. I believe she lived her life the way she knew would draw others to her Savior. I believe this was very important to her.
Second, she served the poor. In verse 36, it says she performed “acts of charity.” She handmade clothes for the poor and needy. Each piece sewn to clothe another who had none. (v.39) She outwardly loved her neighbor as is written in Mark 12:31, ” ‘ you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment.” Dorcas fulfilled this command and loved on the poor not because she had to but she wanted to. I believe that was her heart to help those less fortunate knowing again that that’s what her Savior did.
Thirdly, she is known for doing good works outside of helping the poor. She was “full of good works” it says in verse 36. In Acts 10:38, we read that Jesus “went about doing good.” Dorcas had to have known this and followed in His footsteps. The weeping widows testified to her character of giving when they showed Peter the garments she made with her hands not for herself but for others. (Acts 9:39) Some of them were probably recipients of her generous spirit and hard work. Even in reading that one verse, I see Dorcas as someone who did good not to be patted on the back but because it was right and what followers of Christ did. It was all to glorify God. (Colossians 3:23)
Fourthly, she dies and is restored back to the living by Peter, another disciple of Jesus. Her death and being made alive again was a great witness of the one true God to those in Joppa. “And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:42) Her miracle drew people to become believers in the Lord. In addition, even in death she was remembered fondly as a woman who tended to the needs of others unto the glory of the Lord. She was looked upon as a woman of mercy in her community.
Well, what have we learned from Dorcas’ life? We have learned that being a follower of Christ means living as He did. We are to be “imitators of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Dorcas was in the practice of doing good to others just as Jesus did. Are we doing the same? Are we living out our lives in a way that Jesus is who others see? Dorcas was also remembered for her acts of charity and good works towards others and all of it pointed to Jesus and not to herself. She looked after the homeless and less fortunate as we should. How can we reach out to someone in need and help them? Are we keeping our eyes open for opportunities to love others as Jesus did?
Lastly, how will we be remembered? Dorcas reflected Jesus in her acts and others noticed. Do we desire to be remembered for the love we had for Jesus and how we strove to live our life demonstrating that love to others unto His glory?
I am thankful Dorcas was penned in the Word of God. She is a humble and excellent example of a disciple of Christ. How can we be like Dorcas and leave a legacy that holds true to the Word of God unto His glory?