I’ve always loved the story of Dorcas (also known as Tabitha). As a little girl, I had a girls’ storybook Bible and her story was included, and it was a favorite of mine to read. Dorcas only has seven verses in the Bible, but we can still learn a lot from her.
We find her story in Acts 9:36-42:
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Dorcas was known by many to be a good and kind person, and a talented, hard worker and follower of Christ. “This woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.” She abounded in kindness and charity, and she did this continually.
Dorcas, though there are only a few things said about her, is a great example of the type of women–or men–we should be. Her description also very closely matches that of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. She “works with her hands in delight” (31:13), “and her hands grasp the spindle” (31:19). “She makes coverings for herself” and “she makes linen garments and sells them” (31:22, 24); “the law of kindness is on her tongue,” and “does not eat the bread of idleness” (31:26, 27). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (31:30-31). Dorcas had these talents and qualities, and was well known for her goodness.
If there were verses about us in God’s word, what would they say? Would it be, “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious [your name here]” (Prov. 21:9), or, “The wise woman builds her house, but [your name here] tears it down with her own hands” (Prov. 14:1)? Or would you rather be known like Phoebe, “who is a servant of the church… for she herself has also been a helper of many” (Rom. 16:1-2), or mentioned with the “women who have shared [Paul’s] struggle in the cause of the gospel, …whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3), or having “sincere faith” like Lois and Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5)?
If when we died we were only known by a few words, what would they be? When our short lives are over, can it be said of us that “many daughters have done nobly, but [your name here] excel[s] them all” (Prov. 31:29)? Will we be known for our kind and loving deeds?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Have a blessed day!