Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Disciple

Dorcas of Acts 9 is fascinating.  Dorcas died and was brought back life. Strange, miraclous, and true.  

My interest in Dorcas is more than just the miracle.  Dorcas was a Titus 2 Woman in the absolute purest sense of the Word.  Tabitha (Aramaic) is translated Dorcas (Greek) and her story is found in Acts 9:32-43.  She is the ONLY woman in Scripture where the title disciple is used.  Additional descriptions speak directly to her actions (fruits).  She was "always doing good, deeds of kindness, or full of good works".  She was "helping the poor, charity, almsdeeds".  To peel that last word or phrase back, it's where we get "non-profit".  And we know from 9:39, exactly how Dorcas did these things, she made clothes.  

Dorcas is the Titus 2:3 and 1 Tim 2:10, 5:9-10 model for older women.  First Tim 5 deals with widows and helps interpret Acts 9 (also Titus 2:3 concerning teach "what is good").  A woman should not be considered for a widow's list unless she is over 60, had been faithful to her husband, "and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds."  With her very hands, Dorcas correctly handles the Word of God in exactly how she lived her every day life.  Dorcas, a woman, a disciple, the Word at work!

But wait, there's a bonus!  The picture of Dorcas is not complete without seeing the actions of Peter.  This passage is equally dependent on Peter.  One disciple brings out the Jesus quality in the other, as should the Body of Believers.  It was Peter who responded to the urgent call from those in Joppa to "come at once" when Dorcas died.  

In one word, Peter in this passage, was available.  Not let me check my calendar, let me make arrangements, or what would have been appropriate here by most standards ... I'm sorry for your loss.  

To be available is to be free.  I know over the years I've confused this.  This is not signing up for church ministry, although necessary and called to do at times, or packing my calendar with more "godly" activities.  Please don't mistake my heart here.  I'm talking about having the freedom to move.  If I'm tunnel vision, I won't see the opportunity.  I have to think Peter was very involved in ministry, but he had the wiggle room to GO when called.  I've heard it put that God gives ability, all we have to give Him is availability.  

Dorcas wasn't brought back for her benefit or even Peter's (Peter knew from where his power came, always giving Christ credit).  Because of Dorcas, a true Titus 2 Woman, and Peter, available to go, "this became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord."