What legacy do you wish to leave behind when the time comes? When we read or hear of someone famous who
died, there’s always a host of information shared concerning where they came from, schools they attended, and
In Acts 9:36-37: 39-42, we read about a woman who scripture identifies as, ‘A Certain Disciple’. Nothing is said about her pedigree. The important thing mentioned at the very beginning is that she was a follower of Christ. A follower is someone who walks in the steps of the one in front of them. A ‘true’ follower of Christ not only believes in the teachings and opinions of Christ, they imitate them and they obey them. A follower is also devoted to God; they are steadfast and faithful. Did you know that one could be a Christian who has made a profession of faith, yet, not be a follower of Christ? What’s the distinguishing difference here? A ‘true’ follower of Christ is obedient to the will of God and that’s where the difference lies.
The name of this certain disciple is Dorcas, and the passage goes right into her stats. “This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did” (vs. 36). She could have been a widow, or a single woman, we do not know, and I guess the Holy Spirit didn’t find it necessary to comment on her status in life.
One day, Dorcas becomes very sick and she dies. The disciples go looking for Peter insisting that he come quickly. When Peter gets there he sees all the widows standing around crying with their arms full of all the garments Dorcas made for them while she was alive. What a scene! What a sensitive moment and the aura in that room was thick with sorrow, grief and pain. Those whom she ministered to could not bear the fact that she had died. What a legacy, up to that point, this sister had left and what a powerful impact on her community.
I want us to stop for a moment and take a look at who this woman was, in a spiritual sense. Let’s go back to her stats of ‘good works’ and ‘charitable deeds’. Now, this suggests how she spent her resources and her time. These are two things that are so important and we all have them on some level. The tunics, or coats that the widows were holding showed that Dorcas was a mighty good seamstress. The sister was skilled in an aspect of the arts, that was, and still is vital today. It takes time and preparation to sew anything. It also takes money to purchase the proper fabrics to do so, and we’re not talking about making one cheap coat. She made many!
Dorcas utilized her time, talent, and skills to minister to God’s people. She possessed the spiritual gifts of : Helps, Mercy, Compassion, Giving, and Encouragement. What a blessed individual she was. In order for her to do what she did, she would have to have known what their specific needs were as widows. This speaks to ‘relationship’. Dorcas built relationships with each of these women. She became familiar with their set of circumstances, and as a result, she knew how to minister to them. I’m sure she did more for them than just making clothing. This is so vitally important. We cannot minister to others without first getting to know them.
Dorcas (Tabatha) lived up to her name which means ‘Gazelle’. A gazelle is swift with grace. The way she carried herself was one of dignity and she was quick moving when it came to getting the task done. The opposite of grace is: an ugly attitude and demeanor, mean, harsh, rough and rude.
It is apparent that Dorcas was also a woman of means. She was in a financial position to minister on the level that she did. It would have been so easy for her to take her money and lavish it on herself, and her home, but she had God’s interests at the center of her heart. She knew how God felt about the widows, the poor and the needy. She was moved in her spirit to do something about what she saw. She was passionate and driven about this cause.
We read in verse 37 that she died. What a traumatic moment this was for all around her. The question remains, why would God allow such a valuable person in that community to die? It is clear that God had other things in mind, not only for Dorcas, but for her community at large. There is always a bigger picture where The Lord God is concerned. Long story short; Peter put everyone out of the room and he raised her from the dead; it’s as simple as that! To add to what she was prior to sickness, she now becomes a walking billboard of God’s power! Ain’t that something ladies!
I am limited to words in print due to the length of this article, but there is so much that can be said about Dorcas. Let me leave a few words of encouragement with you. First and foremost, if you have small children that you are raising, your ministry efforts are to your family, presently. For those who have older children or are empty nesters, you may have some time that you can give to ministry work that is well within your skill set, or talent. Are there any needs in your community, or in your church you can assist with? Are we using extra dollars that we may have to support the work of the Lord? Is that even a priority for us or are we designating those funds for our own wants? Has God raised you up from a bed of sickness and restored you to health and strength again? There are many ways to say ‘Thank You Lord’! Look to see what you can do for Him.
The miracle performed by raising Dorcas from the dead brought others closer to God. This is the reason God allowed her to die. Everything we go through and experience in this life is for God’s Glory. When others see some of what we’ve endured, it should leave an impact on them to the point where they want to know more about God. As for the ministry work you are already involved in, ask yourself this; if you became sick and died, would you be greatly missed?
About The Author
Patricia Stuart is a wife, mother of two, and a grandmother of four. While continuing to remain in the home after rearing children, she often engaged in arts and crafts, music ministry, and writing, which she continues to do today. Her books can be found on Amazon.
Patricia’s past of neglect and abuse has turned out to be a testimony of what God can do in the life of all who surrender to Him. Her story has become her ministry.
She has traveled throughout the states as an inspirational speaker, sharing the love of God with young girls, women’s groups, conferences and gatherings. She also shares internationally via Zoom.
God has developed her artistic abilities, allowing her works of art to be seen in local and international galleries.