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, NKJV)
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:8, NKJV)
Let us quickly dispel any silly thoughts that only men can be disciples. There is no Scriptural basis for this position at all. Here in this passage is a disciple recognized in Scripture that is a woman. We can be thankful that Christianity, of all the major world religions, has liberated women and have given them equal footing in the sight of God, especially their value and usefulness to the kingdom of heaven.
Notice that the Scripture makes mention of the good works and charitable deeds that this disciple did. A life of a disciple is a fruitful life, and that life glorifies the Father. The fruitful life is a life of the Spirit, by which we are given the grace to be fruitful. We do not produce the fruit, but it is the Lord working in us by the Spirit. Read and meditate on the following passages on choosing the fruitful life, made easy when we become poor in spirit:
That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. (Colossians 1:10, Amplified)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26, NASB)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10, NKJV)
What the Word of God points out about this disciple is that Tabitha was a great doer, as she was full of good works and charitable deeds. She lived a life that was born out of her character. Her character produced good works and giving to the poor which were evident by her lifestyle choices and results (fruit that can be seen by others).
Full. This word means abounding, abundant, complete, or perfect. Tabitha could not do anymore with her life as far as her works for others (and the giving of her money) to righteous causes. Oh that the same could be said of us! How often do we waste precious time with idleness? This is something between you and the Lord, so pray about how to use the time given to you – to use your time to be complete in your works before God that were prepared beforehand for you to do, or to waste your life on pursuits not fitting a disciple of Christ.
Good works are her good deeds done for the benevolence of others. Charitable deeds were her giving out of her finances for the benefit of others. She used her time and her resources to bless others – that is the distinction given in the Greek text. Resources reinvested in the kingdom reap big returns:
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do what he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NASB)
We are not saved by good works, but they are commended by the Lord; and we were created to do good works. Think about what the following have to say about good works:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NASB)
… but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Timothy 2:10, NKJV)
… in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good work… (Titus 2:7, NKJV)
This message is most trustworthy, and concerning these things I want you to insist steadfastly, so that those who have believed in (trusted in, relied on) God may be careful to apply themselves to honorable occupations and to doing good…. (Titus 3:8, Amplified)
Use your time wisely by performing good works and charitable giving as an act of service to the Lord.