Tabitha, or Dorcas, is not a name we hear very often. She’s only mentioned this one time in the Bible. But she is well-known. Her name is mentioned throughout the world. There is the Dorcas Society, that is synonymous with making clothing for the poor.
The Life of Tabitha
Tabitha was a Servant of God
She was a disciple, a Christian, Acts 11:26. Tabitha is a Jewish name, and the name Dorcas is the Greek translation.
Dorcas - means gazelle, a beautiful gracious animal. It was a custom to name women after beautiful animals.
No mentioned of a husband. She may have been single, widowed or her husband simply isn’t mentioned.
She did good works and alms deeds, which is doing good for the poor, Hebrews 13:16.
- Vs. 37, she became sick and died.
We do not know how old she was, abd we don’t know her sickness or what caused her death.
Her good deeds couldn’t prevent her from dying.
- Ecclesiastes 3:20
When they heard that Peter was in Lydda about a 10 mile journey they sent for him.
Word had gotten around of Peter’s great healings. In those days they buried a person on the same day. So there was a bit of a rush for Peter to arrive. We don't know why they called Peter. Perhaps, they wanted him to comfort them, or preach her funeral.
When he arrived the women are weeping, and showing him the things that she had made for them, and the others who were poor. They had great respect for her.
They honored her for the great things, the labors she had done on their behalf.
- Revelation 14:13, Blessed are the dead which die int he Lord… Their works do follow them…”
- Vs. 40, Peter put them out of the room, and prayed, and then called her forth.
He asked God for her return.
We must always pray to God not my will, but thine, be done.
- Luke 22:42, even Christ in the Garden prayed in God’s will.
"... saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Someone once said,
"Father, if it be better that what we seek, should be withheld, and even the thing we most dread or fear should be better for us, then in thy providence bestow just what is best for us and thy cause." - Anonymous
Tabitha opened her eyes and saw Peter.
We don’t know if she recognized him, or knew who he was. This woman, was called back from Paradise being a faithful Christian. She was not sorry t be back, most likely like Paul,
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21
She doesn’t show any regret. She knew God’s will must be her will. Perhaps she had no memory of what she had seen in Paradise.
Vs. 41, when he called the saints and widows he presented her alive.
There will be a resurrection for all of us. When we die in the Lord we shall all be resurrected.
When it was known, many believed in the Lord. He remained in Joppa with Simon the tanner. Joppa was a seacoast town, a center of trade. Imagine the news of this spreading abroad, and bringing many sincere converts to the lord. Peter’s joy was great over those who were repenting.
"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine [a]just persons who need no repentance."- Luke 15:7
Lessons for Us from the Life of Tabitha
1. Some day we will die.
- Hebrews 9:27
- Ecclesiastes 3:12
2. We learn the true measure of a successful life.not measured by length
- not measured by possessions
- Luke 2:15
- Ecclesiastes 2:11
- Matthew 16:26
- 1 Timothy 6:6-7
3. Defined by Service to Others like Tabitha
- Matthew 23:11
She made clothing to help others who were in need.
Consider the parable of the talents. A talent is a sum of money, yet, we are not using the word, talent, to discuss the ability that a man has, and using it for His purpose.
Tabitha did what she could with what she had. She put it to good use for the glory of God.
Two enemies of service to others are laziness and selfishness.
If we are going to live a successful life, it must be centered around helping other people.
"And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you,inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’" - Matthew 25:40
We serve God when we serve others. Tabitha was a righteous woman, a faithful servant.
What about your life? Are you a faithful Christian? When you die what are people going to remember about you? Will they remember the good deeds that you have done?
There will be a resurrection some day. Tabitha came forth from the grave into a mortal life but returned to the grave and is awaiting the final resurrection. We too await the final resurrection.
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." - John 5:28-29
We have to be his disciple, we have to become a Christian to be a servant of God. We must hear his word, repent of our sins, belie that Jesus is the son of God, confessing Him with our mouth, and being willing to obey Jesus by putting on Christ in baptism. And, having done that, we must walk faithfully with him being His servant all the days of our lives.