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  • Rhonda Kelley

A Modern-Day Dorcas

Dorcas has always been one of my favorite women of the Bible. Her life is described briefly in Acts 9:36-43. She lived in the ancient city of Joppa near the modern city of Tel Aviv in the first century. While she probably never met Jesus personally, she became a follower of Him through the witness of His disciples. Luke said, “This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did” (v. 36). The last phrase has always convicted me---“which she did.” Unlike Dorcas, I often have good intentions to help others and good ideas for ministry, but in the busyness of life, I never get around to them. Ouch! I want to be like Dorcas and actually do good works.

This devoted disciple of Christ was beloved by many widows because she had helped them practically in their time of need by making clothing for them. They were distraught when Dorcas became ill and died. Peter prayed, and she was restored to life (vv. 40-41). As a result of this miracle, many believed in the Lord and were saved (v. 42).

In recent weeks, I have reflected on this passage as my 93-year old mother, Joyce Harrington, has battled Coronavirus. Mother is a faithful follower of Christ and beloved member of the church. She has always been “full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.” Mother often bakes pound cakes for her family, pumpkin bread for her friends, and fruitcake cookies for her neighbors. In fact, she is one of the few residents in her retirement community who actually uses her oven for cooking. She cooks not for herself but for others. Oh, I want to be like my mother and actually do good works.

When Mother became gravely ill, many people wept over her condition and prayed for her healing. God in His amazing grace has chosen to heal Mother despite the dismal prognosis of this vicious virus in older people. In her first days in the hospital, Mother expressed her faith calmly and confidently. She was ready to see the Lord if her time had come, but she was willing to live and bring Him glory if God chose to spare her life. Her complete trust and perfect peace as she faced death have been a witness to healthcare professionals who cared for her as well as an encouragement to her family and friends. Her testimony of healing speaks loudly as she prepares for discharge from rehab and returns home.

What life lessons can Christian women learn today from Dorcas and Joyce?

1. Be faithful followers of Christ. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ matters every day but especially when facing illness and death.

2. Be beloved members of the church. Connection with a body of believers through a local church helps strengthen faith and provides fellowship which is essential to abundant Christian living.

3. Be full of good works and charitable deeds. Putting the needs of others above personal desires is a true Christian virtue and mark of spiritual maturity.

4. Be willing to live or die according to God’s will. Confidence in God’s perfect will and His promise of eternal life give a believer peace and even joy in the face of trials.

5. Be eager to give Him the glory. When God blesses and intervenes in life to perform a miracle, He deserves the glory and a word of witness.

Mother’s Covid-19 journey has taught us many spiritual lessons. Her faith was the strongest when her body was the weakest. The body of Christ rallied around her to pray for the Lord’s healing and praise her godly life. Her small acts of kindness throughout many years were remembered by family, friends, and acquaintances. Her willingness to live or die was a testimony to her complete confidence in God’s will. And, she has given glory to the Lord every step of this challenging journey. I want to be like my mother when I grow up! I want to be a modern-day Dorcas!!

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