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Things Of Lasting Value:

DORCAS

In Bezalel we have dealt with a man ~f God in the Old Testament who left behind him something worth while (see October "Needed Truth"). In Dorcas we have a woman in the New Testament who did the same (Acts 9.86-43). Her name means" a gazelle," that quiet, gentle creature which is loved for its innocent look and delicate walk, and that carefully picks its way along the path of life, and seems always on the alert for the enemy. Such seems to describe the Christian life of Dorcas, a woman who was a credit to a church of God in the early days of the testimony. She reminds us so much of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. 10-81. How wonderful are the qualities of such a woman, and how much such women are needed in the assemblies today!

"She ... worketh willingly with her hands"

"She girdeth her loins with strength";

"Her hands hold the spindle";

"She spreadeth out her hand to the poor";

"She maketh linen garments and selleth them";

"Strength and dignity are her clothing";

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom"

(Proverbs 3i. 18-26).

Here is a beautiful picture of what godly women should be, busy, but not busybodies, speaking words of wisdom, but not tattlers (see 1 Timothy 5.11-15); with no time for petty things, gossip, disagreements, backbiting. You will recall that one of the few stigmas on the Philippian church was due to two sisters not being able to get along together. Paul pleaded in his epistle, "Yea, I beseech thee ... help these women, for they laboured with me in the gospel" (Philippians 4.8). His desire was that they might be of the same mind in the Lord. Their names were Euodia and Syntyche. How sad when the adversary is permitted to turn sisters against each other, sometimes over the minutest thing! Let us guard against the" little foxes "that spoil the vineyard; let us keep our eyes open for the little wedges that the devil is ever seeking to push between fellow saints.

Dorcas, like the virtuous woman of Proverbs, seems to have been a sister who was constantly serving the Lord and serving others. Luke has left a wonderful testimony to her in Acts 9. He describes her as "a disciple" ; "a woman full of good works and almsdeeds which she did" (verse 36).

Here we have ideal characteristics for any sister, in the assembly, who is seeking to please the Lord. She should be a close, consistent follower of the Master, who " went about doing good," be generous with her time, her money, and with her practical deeds, well-known for her good works. Writing to the Galatian saints, Paul said,

"Let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith" (Galatians 6.10).

These things should be done not as menpleasers, but as unto the Lord. Luke goes on to tell us in his narrative that Dorcas died. She was held in such high esteem that the disciples sent a hasty message to Peter, who was at nearby Lydda, to come to the home of Dorcas. He arrived at the house of mourning to be shown by weeping women, "the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them" (Acts 9.89). This godly woman has left behind her a testimonial to a busy life; things that could be taken and shown with joy to others as evidence of her ceaseless activity. A wonderful testimony indeed! Then followed one of the great miracles of apostolic days. Peter, -alone in the room, kneeled and prayed, then spoke to the corpse, " Tabitha, arise." Dorcas opened her eyes and sat up. Peter, taking her by the hand, presented her alive to the saints and widows.

Supposing Dorcas had not been raised, she still would have left behind her much to commend her Christian life. What of you, of me?