Biblical Womanhood for Pariahs By Wendy Alsup pa·ri·ah 1. an outcast. 2. any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided. 3. a member of a low caste in...
Women in the Bible: Are You a Dorcas?
Which character in the Bible best describes you? Ashley Kyles @SundaysBliss delivers an uplifting and beautiful post that will help empower women. Ashley tells us about a strong women in the Bible named Dorcas. If women modeled her characteristics we could make a big impact around us.
Women in the Bible: Are You a Dorcas?
Acts 9: 36-43
36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda 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!”
39Peter 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.
40Peter 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. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
The ninth book of Acts presents a woman named Dorcas who had met her untimely death. She was so well-liked by her peers that they could not accept her departing; thus they called the Apostle Peter to bring her back to life. Acts does not go into great detail about Dorcas, but it tells us enough to figure that she was widely loved and respected by the Christian community in Joppa. Following are five distinct characteristics about Dorcas. As women, if we can help each other in modeling these same characteristics, then we can make a big impact on those around us.
D – Dorcas was a Disciple. Verse 36 clearly indicates that Dorcas followed Christ, calling her a disciple by name (translated from the Greek word mathetria). This is the only place in the New Testament where the feminine form is used. In that case, it is possible that Dorcas could have been a known leader in the Christian community.
O – Dorcas was Obedient. Verse 39-41 suggests that the widows valued Dorcas. They made sure to model to the Apostle Paul all that she had made for them, basically, all that she had done in their favor. God has always been very protecting of the widows and the poor and Dorcas was faithful to care for them as well, as God instructs us to.
R – Dorcas was Resilient. “Dorcas” is a female name of Greek origins, meaning “gazelle”. A gazelle is a small antelope of the genus Gazella and allied genera, resident of the continents Africa and Asia. They are most noted for their graceful movements. To be graceful as a gazelle is to be resilient, to spring back, and to be buoyant or lively in nature. Dorcas was not only a survivor, but she was also an overcomer. Death could not hold her back from the purpose God destined her for.
C – Dorcas was Charitable. In biblical times, when a woman’s husband died, she had no way to make a living. Therefore, Dorcas would often make robes and other clothing for the widows to keep them warm in the coldness of winter. Though, Dorcas was a Christian not because she did good works and charitable deeds. She did good works and charitable deeds because she was a Christian (a key distinction). Remember, he who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done (Proverbs 19:17).
A – Dorcas was Amiable. Dorcas was so well-liked by her peers that they could not accept her departing. They were so desperate for her companionship that they called the Apostle Peter over from a nearby town to bring her back to life. This shows us how valuable she was to her community and insinuates that she must have been a pleasant woman, possessing good-natured qualities.
S – Dorcas was a Seamstress. Dorcas was a hard-working woman. She had an occupation as a seamstress. The text reveals that she often made robes and other clothing for the widows in the community. She used her gifts and talents for sewing to make an impact in other people’s lives. She made a difference everywhere she went, even in the workplace. As Christians, God presents each of us with gifts that we can use to serve Him; and often they are related to the abilities and interests that we already have. Even if we have not fully developed our skills and talents, we can begin right where we are, whether it is at school, home or even work.
As you can see, Dorcas was an admirable woman who was so loved and respected by her peers that they prayed for a miracle and God granted it. She was the cause of an evangelistic explosion! The story of her revival “became known all over Joppa” and as a result “many people believed in the Lord” (v.42). In her, we can see the fruits of the Spirit: love, kindness and goodness. She is an example to the women in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, which says that women are to gain respect, not by physical beauty, but by the good deeds that are appropriate for women who worship God. And also an example to Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” If we as women can help each other model the characteristics that Dorcas had, we can make a ground-breaking influence in the lives of our families, our churches and the world.