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Dorcas Part 6: “You Have a Part To Do”

My dear friends, Dorcas was considered a disciple of Christ not because she was wealthy or super talented or in the public eye. She was a disciple of Christ because she loved others as Christ loved. And as a demonstration of that love, Dorcas used what God gave her and gave it to those in need. I love the following poem.

“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s family
Can do it as well as you.”
(L.B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert )

 

We are part of God’s family and because He lovingly made each of us to be unique, he’s created a special part for each of us to do as well. I have my part, and you have yours. I shouldn’t do what God made you to do, nor am I supposed to. I’m supposed to do what God has created me to do. And like the poem above says, no one can do the part as well as you.

Dorcas loved as Christ loved, but she didn’t stop there. “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” (Jas 2: 24)  Out of Dorcas’ love for her Savior came obedience in giving to others with great need.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Col 3:23.)  Dorcas’ love for others led her to action.  Each stitch on every garment was for the Lord.  Menial and repetitive work, yet because she sewed unto the Lord, nothing could have been more valuable.  “Whatever you do”…whether it’s changing diapers, brushing teeth, cooking, vacuuming and taking care of your family or finding a way to serve others outside your family (cutting fabric, cooking meals, donating ‘junk’ etc.,) do it for the Lord.

Let Dorcas be an encouragement to you. Each of us can love, give generously, and do our part. And like the poem says, the part may not be grand, but it’s valuable nonetheless because it was made for you.

Dorcas did her part, will you?

(Acts 9: 36-43)

 

 

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Dorcas Part 4: Show Me Some Love!

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Ah, I’ve got a cup of hot coffee and a cup of grace, I’m ready.  Picking up where we left off…Dorcas.

Peter has arrived at the home where Dorcas has been laid and sends everyone out. He gets down on his knees and prays. Do we get down on our knees and pray, especially when things seem hopeless? Do we take our concern to the One who created us and knows of our need before we ever speak it?

When Peter finishes praying, he turns to Dorcas and says, “Up you go, dearie!” Ok, not exactly, but he did tell her to get up and “She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.” (Acts 9: 40) He presented Dorcas to the believers and widows and “this became known all over Joppa.” (Acts 9:42) I should think so!  A woman is raised from the dead, I would hope it would become known all over town!  And because of it, “many people believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9: 42) Woot woot!

Can you imagine the rejoicing going on that night? And then, the celebration party that took place within that community after many believed. Peter stayed in town for a while, possibly because of the big growth the church suddenly experienced.

Dorcas started by helping one widow and by doing what she knew how to do, make clothes. Then another. And she never stopped! She had too much love for these women in need to do one good deed, instead she consistently gave to them.  Her death devastated many.  So when the Lord raised her from the dead, the entire community was impacted. All because she started a ministry to love others and give generously.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (Ja 1: 27)  Dorcas looked after the lonely, forgotten, and destitute widows she helped the poor and always did good. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn 13:35.)

Friend, you don’t need to be a pastor, a teacher, a small group leader, an elder, a blogger, or feel like you need to find a “special gifting”  in order to be a disciple and follow Jesus’ command to make a difference in His Kingdom. Dorcas was a disciple because she loved others. But she didn’t stop there, she loved them by helping widows, by doing something practical, and something she already knew how to do. Sewing might not seem like much, but to those women, and to God, it was the most meaningful service she could provide.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25: 40) Jesus said those challenging words, and Dorcas took them to heart and put them into action. She didn’t make extravagant designer clothes, rather something simple and practical. And that’s what each of us can do. Keep it simple, keep it practical.

Anyone can love Jesus and make themselves available to give generously as He directs. Everyone can give something. We can love. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19)

Let’s go out today and show someone some love!

(Acts 9:36-42)

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Dorcas Part 3: You Have A Special Gift

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I do hope today’s bit of Dorcas encourages you! Get your cup ready for some grace!

When we left off, Dorcas had died and the other disciples had sent for Peter.

Peter arrives and is taken up to the room where Dorcas was laid. And there he meets a group of people who Dorcas had blessed and loved. “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.” (Acts 9: 39)

Widows (and their children) were generally poor and destitute, having lost their source of income when their husband died and had no real prospects of improving their circumstances. If their family did not take pity on them and help them, or if they had no family to do so, they were left desperate with nowhere to turn. Lonely and forgotten.

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn 13: 34-35) Dorcas loved these widows. And by loving them, she let them know that they were not forgotten or alone. They were loved by Jesus.

And, Dorcas saw their need and decided to do something about it. She knew how to sew, so she made them clothes gave them to the widows. By meeting their material needs, she showed them Christ’s love and introduced them to the One who could meet their every need. These widows treasured their beloved Dorcas because she had followed Christ’s command to love.

I love this next bit: Dorcas was specifically called “a disciple” in the Bible, yet there is no mention of her being a teacher, a preacher, a worship leader, a small group leader, or even a church elder. She was a disciple because she followed Jesus’ commandment of loving one another. She saw women (and their children) who needed love and she loved them.

Friend, if you don’t feel like you have a “special gift” (said with a deep and religious voice), let Dorcas be an encouragement to you. You possess a most important gift — love. Dorcas was beloved, remembered, and singled out as a disciple because she loved, not because she got up in front of thousands to preach or taught a small class. She loved. You have a very special gift. The gift of love. You can be a disciple and a blessing to others, just like Dorcas.

Love your children. Love your husband. Love your church family. Love your friends. Love someone who feels lost and forgotten. Love other moms (who often feel lost and forgotten staying at home, raising children, leaving the house only to grocery shop or shuttle children to and from.) Love.

Dorcas made clothes because it’s something she could already do. But she did it out of love. Maybe you know how to do sew and could find a ministry which uses that gift. Do you cook or bake? Maybe you can find a ministry that provides meals to families or people in need. Do you love little ones? Maybe the nursery needs more workers at your church? Or maybe you know a mom who needs a break.

God has given you a very special gift to share with the world. Love one another.

(Acts 9:36-43)

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Dorcas Part 2: Desperate Times

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Hello again. Are you ready for the blessings God has for you today? Have you started off your day wondering how you may bless others? I wonder if that’s how Dorcas started her days. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.

Last time, we were just introduced to Dorcas, a disciple, who knew that  “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (Ja 2:17.) Remember, she was always doing good and helping the poor.

Her faith, her actions — she’s quite wonderful! But her story takes a tragic turn. Dorcas becomes very sick and dies. Wait, what? We were just getting to know her!

When the other disciples heard that Peter (as in Jesus’ disciple) was nearby, they sent a couple of guys to bring him back because their beloved Dorcas had died.

Wait! Stop! What?! Wasn’t she already dead? She wasn’t just sick..she was gone. What were they expecting?

I mean, really, what did they think would happen?  Maybe they really were hoping…or rather…believing for and expecting a miracle. No matter what they were thinking, I’m absolutely blown away that their response to their dear friend’s passing was to fetch Peter so he could pray. Oh to have the kind of faith where we expect, rather than just hope for a miracle.

When I’m at my most desperate, (and believe me, there are weeks when it seems it’s just about every single day,) is my response to find a prayer warrior who will hold my hand and plead with the Lord on my behalf in prayer? Sometimes, maybe. Definitely not always my first response. With 3 little boys, prayer needs to be my first, second, and every response or else I just might lose my mind! On the days I don’t think I can handle one more tantrum, whine, argument, brawl, or snarky look (you know, an average day in the life of a mom,) stopping to pray can give me that extra strength I need to face the little minions. Or a quick text to a trusted friend or in my mom, asking her to pray so I can make it can really be helpful!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I didn’t even wait until I was at my most desperate, down to my last nerve, and out of patience? I mean, what if I prayed as the Bible says to pray, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes 5:16-18) Maybe I wouldn’t feel as crazy, running around with 3 little boys, but maybe I’d have a peace in my chaos. But I digress…

Dorcas has died and her friends and co-disciples of Christ are reaching out, expecting a miracle.

(Acts 9:36-43)