Daily Thought for: 21st November

DORCAS

Acts 9. 36-43

Today we consider the second ‘certain disciple’ of this chapter. Here it is a sister, and so the term is not restricted to men. All of God’s people have been called to be followers of Christ. Discipleship is expressed in different ways in the New Testament. All are to follow, although for some it will mean going afar, while for others it will mean staying just where they are. Each of these ‘certain disciples’ in this chapter did their greatest work in their hometown, Ananias at Damascus and Dorcas in Joppa. 

The Power of Practical Ministry. Dorcas was known in her own locality for the good which she did to others; she was ‘full of good works and almsdeeds which she did’. This introduces us to an area of truth which is sadly neglected. Paul writing to Titus, at Crete, emphasized the importance of ‘good works’. Crete was notorious for lack of this—the character of the Cretan is described in Titus 1. 12. Paul is exhorting Titus to teach that we have not been saved by our works, but good works should be seen in us as a result of our new life in Christ. The work of Dorcas was such that when she died she was greatly missed and there was great weeping. It is good for us so to live that we will be missed when we have gone. The widows who wept had tangible evidences of her kindness—she had left garments behind to help them. Again this is a lesson to all; a little practical kindness to saved and unsaved is a stronger voice than when we preach or teach. 

The Perplexity of Providence. It is hard for us to understand the providential ways of God. It would seem that Joppa could ill afford to lose such a sister. How often our thoughts have turned in this direction as we have reviewed life’s events. The saints at Jerusalem must have felt like this when John and Peter were taken, Acts 4. 3. But God always had in mind His people and soon restored them. 

The Priority of Prayer. Peter had been called from nearby. He saw the sorrow and mourning and, having had the room emptied, kneeled down and prayed. In our day we cannot expect such a miracle, but in our need we too must pray and God will answer according to His divine purpose. 

 

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