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Dorcas: Making a Difference

In Acts 9:36-42, we’re introduced to an individual named Tabitha, translated in the Greek as Dorcas, which means gazelle. Dorcas isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the Bible; what we read of her in this text is all we know about her. But there’s no question Dorcas made a difference in the Kingdom of God.

How can we follow her example?

Follow Jesus: The first description we read of Dorcas is that she was a disciple (v. 36). She was a follower of Jesus, and what mattered most to her was having a relationship with her Savior — living to love Him and please Him. She lived her life from an eternal perspective.

Live a charitable life: Dorcas’ life was full of kindness and charity (v. 36). To Dorcas, being good meant doing good. Dorcas didn’t perform a good work here or there, whenever she felt like it. She “continually did” so. Serving was a way of life for her. She was a doer, not just a talker. In fact, we have no record of any of the words Dorcas spoke. It was her deeds for which she is remembered.

Importance of time and opportunity: There’s finality with the imagery we read of in v. 39. The widows could no longer express their gratitude to Dorcas. That time was gone. What’s the lesson? Take advantage of the opportunities to do good while you have those opportunities. Because where we’re going — “the grave” (Eccl. 9:10) — the opportunities to do good and work cease. Death teaches us the importance of taking advantage of the time we have right now (John 9:4).

Do what you can: Dorcas had a particular set of skills (v. 39) — she made clothes for widows. She didn’t do everything, but she did what she could. This is where we’re at — we can’t do everything or do what others may be able to do. But we can all do something. Every day, there is someone who we can help, in some way.

Leave a legacy: Again, from the imagery in v. 39, we find a woman who left behind a lifetime of kindness. According to Rev. 14:13, our works will follow us into eternity. We will be judged by what we do and what we don’t do — good and bad. When we depart from this world, our good works will influence those who remain. For what will you be remembered?

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