Daisies exude joy. These cheerful flowers are known for their yellow center and surrounding white petals symbolized innocence and purity to the ancient Celts. In Acts 9, we are introduced to a daisy of a lady named Dorcas. She spread joy wherever she went through "good works and charitable deeds which she did" (v. 36).
Do you have a daisy in your life? For me, that person was Patty Davis. If my garden needed weeding, she pitched in. When I hoped for a new outfit to meet Billy Graham for the first time, she took me shopping. After Nathan's birth, my chores simply overwhelmed me. One day Patty popped in with her daughter, Becky. Patty did the laundry and light housekeeping while Becky tended to Nathan. And I got a much-needed nap and shower. Patty just had a way to brighten any day.
The true test to determine whether someone is a disciple of Jesus is through love in action. At least that was what Jesus said: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). I knew that Patty was a disciple of Jesus by the sacrificial love she showed me.
Likewise, that's how the Christians of Joppa knew that Dorcas was a disciple. She used her talent of sewing to provide clothing for widows. And it's thrilling to discover that she is the only woman in Scripture given the title disciple. Wow! What do you suppose that meant? Her life was filled with significance since disciple means someone who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. She stands among good company with the twelve disciples who formed the small inner group that famously followed Jesus. Imagine being drafted into the big leagues.
Read the verse below and answer the following questions:
"At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did" (Acts 9:36).
1. Where does our story begin? Who else from our text came from that city?
Joppa was and is a beautiful seaport city on the Mediterranean. Its stone walls protected it from enemies and the encroaching waves. Many believe it received its name beautiful from the way the sunlight hit these stones. Fishermen flourished there.
2. Read Acts 10:9-17, then describe what happened to Peter on the rooftop. What do you think God was teaching Peter?
3. What two names were given to the woman, and why do you think she has both?
Dorcas in Greek and Tabitha in Aramaic are both translated gazelle. In the metropolitan city of Joppa known for receiving trade ships from around the world, she likely went by both names, as both these languages were spoken there. Her life exuded grace just like the gazelle.
4. What title was Tabitha given, and what does it tell you about her?
5. Describe this woman's reputation and what you might learn about her financial priorities.
Deeds declare our faith since James told us that "faith without works is dead" (2:20). The charitable deeds Dorcas performed were expressions of her faith. She used her resources and talents for the benefit of others and in so doing she spread the gospel. Sewing is a form of serving.
a. Do you have a daisy in your life? Describe that person.
b. Have you acted as a daisy in the life of another? What good works or charitable deeds did you offer?
c. What is your definition of love? How do others know that you love them?
d. Describe the attributes of a disciple. Do you possess these qualities? Which qualities do you need to develop?