~ Andrea McCaskey
Dorcas, whose name means gazelle, an emblem of beauty, resided in Joppa, meaning beauty or comeliness. Interesting. Joppa was a port city and Dorcas was a seamstress making garments for the widows and the poor. Living in a port city, she likely had a wide variety of beautiful materials to select from.
Can’t you imagine her as a disciple, sitting in her front room (an open concept great room and kitchen with a fireplace) spinning wool into thread and then weaving it into fabric. Enjoying each segment of the task as the widows of Joppa sat with her. Similar to quilting bees where the women in the community come together to share stories and wisdom with one another, teaching the younger women how to sew but also how to live.
Dorcas likely taught some women how to sew as well as teaching them about her Lord. Wonder if she used the garments as illustrations. Maybe she chose a beautiful purple coat to illustrate God’s cloak of righteousness. Or maybe when a woman pricked her finger with a needle and drew a drop of blood she taught them of how Jesus’ hand was nailed to the cross and their names were engraved in his hand.
I often desire to do something grand for the Lord. Something like my friend Rachel who leads an effort to pack 1 million meals, annually. Or my friend Kathy who speaks to groups all over the city about the Lord. Or maybe, as my friend Barvette says, I should be content to do what I can, where I am with what I have and let God do the rest. Like she does when teaching her friends how to cook, or make jewelry or knit. It is what she knows and how she shares it to bring glory to God through her giftings.
Dorcas used what she knew, where she was and it brought many to know her Savior. Perhaps that was her intent. But maybe, as my Pastor said, she made the coat so people wouldn’t be cold. And it was because of her love and care for them, not the coat, that people came to Christ. She may have been seen then, and even today, as only a seamstress. Her contribution to the world may seem small. But God used her to do what I long to do. Share what he has given me so that others can know his great love for them.
Ahh Dorcas, Selah…