|“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha |
in Greek her name is Dorcas; she was
always doing good and helping the poor.”
There is no end to amazing and heart-gripping stories in God’s Word, the Bible. Please take note of this one from 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.
This is certainly a noteworthy event. Raising someone from the dead is hardly an everyday occurrence. But that’s not the part of the story to which I wish to draw your attention.
Note how Dorcas is described: “she was always doing good and helping the poor.” What an absolutely marvelous description.
Imagine being known as someone who is so devoted to doing God’s work in the world that your very name becomes synonymous with a particular mission.
Most of you are far too young to have ever heard of this, but in the early part of the twentieth century, all across the evangelical churches in the United States and Great Britain, countless women’s Sunday School classes were known by the name “Dorcas.” In fact, my dear, sweet grandmother led the Dorcas Class in her church for over 60 years—right up to the time of her death at the age of 92.
These Dorcas Classes not only studied the Bible, they undertook specific outreach ministries to the poor.
This was at a time when no one was talking about churches becoming “missional.” These women simply lived the “Christ-life” in a humble and caring manner. They were “missional” in the most natural and unassuming way.
I am truly inspired by both this story from the Book of Acts and by the actions of countless women who gathered in Dorcas Classes and gave of themselves to serve the poor in Jesus Name.