By Lance Cordle
Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated
in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding
with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually
A discouraging aspect of current
American culture is the seemingly endless fascination
with celebrities—actors, athletes, and those who are
fabulously wealthy. Not only are there
entire television programs and magazines devoted to
of celebrity worship, but even “serious” news programs
have segments filled with the latest “buzz”
and celebrity gossip. Most of the people followed,
and profiled live lives of shallow hedonism.
How refreshing it is, then, to
turn to the pages of the Bible and be introduced to a woman
whose life was characterized by deeds of kindness. Tabitha
(also known as Dorcas) was a Christian
at Joppa, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Palestine.
Readers of the Bible are introduced to Tabitha because she
died, but she was significant because of the
way she lived her life. You can read her brief story
in Acts 9:
First, notice that the Bible
makes special mention of her kindness. The first words of
the narrative are those explaining who she was. The Bible
says she was “abounding with deeds of
kindness.” She was not know for one deed, but many—an
overflowing number. Also, it is said the she “continually
did” acts of kindness. This was a way of life for her.
Thus, it not only describes her deeds, but her heart.
Secondly, take note of the fact
that her brothers and sisters in Christ made a special
effort to get Peter to go to Joppa. Wayne Jackson, in his
commentary on Acts, makes mention of normalcy
of same-day burial (Acts 5:6) and the delay in Tabitha ‘s
case. He also wonders if their delay and call for Peter
were indicators of their hope that he could do
something about her death (The Acts of the Apostles
Jerusalem to Rome, p. 119).
Finally, as you read the account
of Tabitha, notice the impact of her passing on those she
had affected. The widows (an often-neglected class then
and now) stood by crying and displaying
clothing she had made (presumably for them). Her life
meaningful that the impact of her death was powerful.
We would likely not have known
of Tabitha if it had not been for her kindness. Not only
did she make a difference in the lives of people then, but
she continues to affect people today, because of
her kindness. What a beautiful life—that started in
heart! How’s your heart?
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of
Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted
through the congregation's website: