Tabitha AKA Dorcas- A Disciple of Christ

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When we look at the story of Tabitha aka Dorcas, we see that she was a woman who loved serving her community. It is not clear whether Tabitha was a widow or not, scripture does not say, but what is does say is that she was disciple of Christ.   My attention has never centered on this truth about her until I started studying her life.  Let’s take a quick snapshot of her life through the scripture text below:

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 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!”

39 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.

40 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. 41 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. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

What I admire about Dorcas’ life testimony was she was not just a talker but a doer of the word. And because of her activities of living out the gospel, she received the label “disciple”, something we did not see a lot within scripture describing a woman.  I know I often thought of only the twelve disciples of having the “disciple” title.  However, that is really what a Christian is or should be called is disciple because disciples were simply a follower of Jesus.  Christian really was not a term used in the Bible, even in the New Testament.  Dr. Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, in Alpharetta, GA, stated this in one of his recent sermons and challenged his church to fulfill their roles that Jesus so clearly laid out for his followers (i.e. Disciples) to love others like he did.  He notated that we should not settle for being what the world defines as “Christian” we should strive to be a “Disciple” – A follower of Christ and his teaching and his ministry to the people. As we see here in this text disciple is defined as someone who lives the walk and loves and serves others as Christ did, men and women alike.

Dorcas was a disciple of Christ following his example of loving others as he did. Her life was defined by her active discipleship.   Dorcas opened her home and life to her community specifically the poor and the widows and was always doing good and helping the poor all the way up until her untimely death.  She made a positive, life changing impact on them through her love and support of them.  God through the power of the Holy Spirit allowed Peter to bring her back for the community and for the widows for the furtherance of the Gospel.  Many people believed in the Lord after learning that she was brought back from the dead.  Through bringing her back to life this allowed the gospel to spread powerfully throughout the community there.

Dorcas understood and took seriously that pure and faultless religion meant pouring out your life for those in need. She had a powerful ministry to the poor and the widows.  We see lives changed because of the love she bestowed upon them which developed in them a deep love for her because she was a reflection of Christ, a true follower and disciple of Jesus.  With life application, I would like to challenge you today to pour out your life on behalf of those in need who are poor, lost loved ones, the widows (young and old) and to the orphans of this world.  Let us take serious the plan that Jesus laid out for each one of us by loving others so that they will draw close to the Lord in their time of need.

Ways you can help those in need:

Donate food during a food drive

Donate your time to volunteer at a local soup kitchen

Give generously to those in need

Do not shun the poor or the widow

Minister to those in need through God’s Holy Word and Prayer- Actively pray with them to encourage them through difficult times

Provide Clothing & Shelter

Provide a ride to church and prayer services, to the doctor, to the grocery, provide a meal daily and/ or weekly to a family in need.

Provide tutoring for a child/ pay for a child to be involved in a sport/ hobby who does not have the means otherwise to participate.

Prayer:

“Father God, Help me to be sensitive to the needs of those around me. Stir my heart to minister to them and encourage them in the way you lead me.  Show me ways I can help a person or a family who is in desperate need and mentor them through your discipleship.  Help me to minister to them through prayer and your awesome mighty word.  Guide me in my own discipleship that I may be a true reflection of you.  In Jesus Name I Pray. AMEN.

Focus Passage for this week:

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27 NIV

 

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