Three Things I Learned from Dorcas (Tabitha)

So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

The Bible tells us that in Joppa there was a woman named Tabitha, which, when translated, means Dorcas. She was very dear and loved by all. She dedicated her life to doing good and helping people. When she died, the church greatly felt her loss, and knowing that Peter was nearby, they sent for him, hoping he could comfort them. Whenever I read this story, three points stand out to me:

Dorcas was attentive to the pain of others

When Peter arrived and was taken to the room where she was, the widows who were there surrounded him and showed him the clothes she had sewn for them. During those days, existence was even more difficult. In case of widowhood, the economic and social condition of the woman changed drastically, and she could suffer deprivation and poverty. Widows’ lives were often at the mercy of the kindness of others, and they were often despised and wronged. It is no wonder that in many verses we read that the Lord himself stands up for them (Exodus 22:23-24; Deuteronomy 1:18).

Dorcas listened to the voice of God and dedicated her skills to meeting the physical needs of the poor. She was always attentive to the pain of others.

Her fingers were busier than her tongue

In Joppa there was a Dorcas, whose skillful fingers were more active than her tongue. She knew who needed comfortable clothing and who needed sympathy, and she freely ministered to the wants of both classes.”

Daughters of God, p. 72

Dorcas talked less and acted more, fulfilling what she purposed in her heart. Many times we get stuck on promises, on well-intentioned plans—”I want to help; I need to do something!” And then never move on to actually doing anything.

Shouldn’t our nice speeches be exchanged for silent actions? As the saying goes: “Accomplish without promising; surprising is better than fulfilling!”

Her absence was felt

And when Dorcas died, the church in Joppa realized their loss. It is no wonder that they mourned and lamented, nor that warm teardrops fell upon the inanimate clay. She was of so great value that by the power of God she was brought back from the land of the enemy, that her skill and energy might still be a blessing to others.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5 page 304

How many of us have been so helpful to our community that if we were to die today, we would cause such a commotion? Has our usefulness here on this Earth been so significant for God to look down from heaven and say: this person needs to come back to life to continue blessing others? Would our absence be noticed? Mourned? Could others say of us: (insert your name), was a woman who blessed the lives of everyone around her?

Dorcas is a great example of altruism and Christianity. She lived the true gospel of Christ, using her gifts to alleviate the suffering of others, loving and serving, never tiring of doing good and lighting up the world around her. She bore witness to Christ in life, and through her death and resurrection many others were led to believe in Jesus. May our life also be full of purpose. May we be ready to hear the call of Christ and make a difference in the lives of people wherever we go. This is my wish for all of us!

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