Death comes to us all. I think the sting of death, the finality of a passing loved one or someone we loved in the community is painful and full of heart ache. Our finite minds grapple with the irrevocability of death and ask the questions, “Where are they? What did they experience? What are they seeing?” All these questions may penetrate our hearts, but in the wake of a passing, Christians should be at peace.
Dorcas is the only woman to be called a disciple of Christ. She is described as a godly woman who did good and helped 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.” (Acts 9:36-39).
Tabitha was a great woman in her community. The heart she had for widows and the poor was indispensable. Her making of clothes and providing for the widows and poor reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). Dorcas’ generous spirit, her love for those who needed help, the clothing and supplies she prepared with caring hands is instantaneously gone.
Some may say the mourners were distressing because of the things they had lost. On the contrary, when you have experienced unconditional love, it is not the “stuff” you miss, but the relationship and contact with the person who poured the love out to you. This love is rare and once found, we are to hold tight to the beauty of it. Our Father’s love is unconditional and merciful; the forgiveness He bestows on His children is amazing for I shudder to think of all the wrong I have committed, but He freely forgives and continuously loves.
A miracle is about to be performed. Actually miracles are performing right before our very eyes, yet we tend to take these for granted daily. The sunrise every morning, the earth suspended in space, gravity holding all things together, the seasons changing, the birth of a child and the gentleness of a forgiving love are all examples of daily miracles. Sadly, these amazing phenomenons do not seem so amazing once witnessed daily. We continually want “signs”.
“This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but non will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (Luke 11:29-30). Interestingly enough, this “sign” is what some believe to be an allegory. Many people believe Jonah was never in the whale, just a tale past on from centuries ago. My response, then Jesus is not a very good Messiah if the sign He gives is an “allegorical Jonah” in the whale. This is all about faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we not see.” (Hebrews 11:1).
Dorcas had faith! Peter had faith! “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 the believers and the widows and presenter her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. (Acts 9:40-43).
What is amazing about this is in Luke 8:54, Christ raises a dead girl to life saying, “Talitha Kumi, my child, get up!” What is interesting is Tabitha and Talitha are just one letter off from each other, plus Peter was in the room with this little girl and our Lord. Maybe remembering this, he prayed and asked the Lord for Dorcas to get up.
The Scriptures are silent as to how long this godly woman lived after this miracle, but I can assure you, she was generously giving of her time and services, spreading the Gospel and praising the Lord in Joppa. I am sure many nights were spent in reliving God’s power over food and fellowship. This small town was given a testimony, a walking, living, breathing, giving, beautiful testimony!
My question to you, sweet sister, what are you known for? Are you a Tabitha, giving your hands and feet in service to the Lord? James 1 is an excellent chapter to read and memorize in the Bible. James 1:26-27 speaks almost directly in attention to Tabitha (Dorcas), “If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue, but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren). External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.”
Prayer is amazing communion with God. If your heart’s desire is to serve, then I implore you to seek the Living God. Ask Him what you can do in service. Pray in regards to be a helper in your church, a doer of the Word; not just listeners, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) James 2:17 also reads, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” God calls us ALL to do something…..what are you called to do?