Sunday, August 1, 2021

Dorcas the Doer

James 1:22 says this, “But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” In other words, we are to put into practice what the Bible teaches, not just listen to a sermon on Sunday and then forget what we hear after we leave church. In Acts 9:36-42, we read the account of a woman who personified this verse  beautifully. 
Let me summarize her story for you:

            Dorcas lived in a town called Joppa and was known for her good deeds, especially to widows. You see, Joppa was a seaport and many sailors’ widows and children lived there. The boats of those days weren’t especially seaworthy and many a sailor lost his life if a big storm assailed them. Their widows were especially vulnerable and were often dependent on the largess of the local community or synagogue.

The Christian community had many such individuals and Dorcas helped to make sure that their need for clothing was supplied. How did she do this? She simply sewed garments for them. Think about it. Her main tool was a simple needle. This was many years before even the crudest sewing machines were invented. Hand sewing is tedious work; yet, day in and day out she ministered to the needs of the destitute, demonstrating her love for God and for others with each stitch.

            We know very little about Dorcus herself. Some feel that she may have been wealthy because the fabric out of which she made the clothing was costly. She may have been a widow, but this too is speculation. What we do know is that the Scripture refers to her as a “certain disciple.” This includes her among the numerous other disciples mentioned in the New Testament, and she achieved this status by her skill with a simple sewing needle and a heart of compassion for widows.

            The writer, Melanie Newton, reminds us that part of our story of faith is how we are living it out on a daily basis. Dorcas knew her talent and she shared that gift to minister to the widows in Joppa

         Ladies, God created each of us with abilities that’s embedded in our DNA. Some of the more obvious ones are musical talents, artistic abilities, math whizzes, wordsmiths, those with sensitive spirits toward others, to name a few. Out of these various talents can come good works that we can use to help and bless others. You see whatever you can do, God wants you to use it to be His channel of grace to others.  I know a retired nurse who, because of her medical background, offers her services to some of the chronically ill in our community. In addition, she offers her time to visit the sick in the hospital. I know another woman who made many of the costumes for the yearly Easter pageants her church produces. The woman who applied stage make-up was a professional make-up artist who donated her talents to the church. These women were all donating their gifts to help further the kingdom of God. Yes, even applying stage make-up can be used to enhance God’s work because many people come to know Christ through these productions. Perhaps you are at a season in your life where you feel depleted of the energy or even the physical ability to do what once brought you great joy as you shared your gifting with others. Then maybe you can just use a simple ballpoint pen to bless others. Remember Dorcas used a simple sewing needle to minister to

many widows in her community. When was the last time you wrote just a short note of thanks and encouragement to your pastor or priest, letting him know how greatly blessed you are by their work as your shepherd? Your pastors are just as subject to discouragement as any other person. There are many individuals who would benefit from a word or note of encouragement, I’m sure. 

    The name of this ministry, Friends Needing Friends, was chosen by Dotti Ackerman, its founder, to remind you that as a widow you are the friend that someone needs as she walks the road of widowhood. Likewise, you need others to stand by you, encouraging you through words and/or actions as you encounter difficulties on your road.

            Dandi Mackall says, “Remember what Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper? ‘If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’ According to this Scripture, the blessing is in the doing. Dorcas did not miss the blessing. She used her enterprise to help those who were in need.” God is wanting to bless you too for reaching out and helping to bring some joy into the life of another individual, a fellow image bearer of God. Dorcas’s legacy to each of us is one of not just possessing a skill, but using it to help others, all the while being Christ’s hands extended.


Message by Shari Hervold


                        Music by Maranatha - "I Love You Lord"