A year ago, the name “Dorcas” didn’t ring a bell to me as a significant person in the Bible; however, God changed that for me. I was serving in our church’s children’s ministry when Dorcas’ story was told. The story didn’t focus so much on the fact that Peter had raised her from the dead, but on what she had done while she was alive. Since that perspective was told, I remember her story of how she touched the lives of the people around her. Please turn to Acts 9:32-42.
Peter came to the town of Lydda and healed a man who had been paralyzed for eight years. When the believers saw that, they rejoiced and sent him to Tabitha’s (Dorcas) house in Joppa because she was dying. By the time Peter arrived, she was already dead but the room was full of “widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them.” Dorcas had made a difference in the lives of the widows and they were greatly grieving their loss. It makes me think of what my former senior pastor would say to the church and how this statement challenged him when looking at the church’s direction: If our church were to disappear right now, would anyone in the neighborhood notice? This isn’t about noticing the church because it’s big; it is noticing the church because it is making a difference in the lives of the people that live around it.
Let’s step away from the statement focused solely on the church and look at our individual lives. Dorcas showed us that an individual can make such a difference that people feel it. There truly is more pain and suffering in this world than what one person can handle, but God placed each one of us where we are so we can make a difference in our immediate community. Dorcas did what she could and made clothing for the widows; we have skills that God wants to use to change the lives of the people around us as well.
If I were to disappear right now, would my neighbors notice?