Apparently, Dorcas was a person who made all kinds of things for other people. She was a woman who sold and gave these things to others, helping them out (v. 39). She must have been an extraordinary leader as well, because, as Luke writes, when she died, all the widows came and stood at the side of the bed weeping (v. 39). She must have had a profound impact on the community.
What is interesting, though, when we read this passage, is that we don’t hear anything from Dorcas herself. Instead, we hear about Dorcas. All Luke tells us is that she was a person “devoted to good works and acts of charity” (v. 36). He goes on to say words about the widows who had gathered in grief over the great loss they had experienced and the kinds of crafts she had made. But when we read the passage, we don’t hear what Dorcas said or thought.
Maybe that is because the “good works and acts of charity” that we read about were not about her! Dorcas was not interested in receiving applause. She was not interested in receiving “kudos.” She was simply interested in serving Christ! She was a person who knew her passion, her gifts, her talents, her mission, and she desired no more than to do her thing: “good works and acts of charity.” [By the way, she is also the first woman in the New Testament to be called a disciple (v. 36)].
No wonder the widows were upset. They realized deeply whom they had lost. Here was a true disciple and leader in the church. Maybe this is also why Peter stayed over in Joppa because he wanted to learn more from Dorcas about leadership (v. 43). Dorcas had lived a Spirit-filled life.
How may we celebrate people like Dorcas in our lives? How may we seek to lead Dorcas-like lives in our families and communities? Where is the Lord calling us to use our talents and gifts to help others? How may our homes be mission posts for the gospel?
Pastor Andy Kinsey