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Tabitha-Gazelle On the Mountain of Eternity

December 5th, 2004

“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named
Tabitha, which translated, means Dorcas.
She was full of good works and acts of charity.”

(Acts 9:36)

Ken Jennings was finally defeated after winning over 70 rounds on the popular television game show, Jeopardy. Jennings won a whopping 2.5 million dollars in 2004. We mention Jenning’s recent celebrity status in conjunction with the life of the early Christian woman Dorcas to express a truth about notoriety.
In a footnote to the biblical text, we are told that “Tabitha” is the Aramaic form of the Greek name “Dorcas”. Tabitha is properly translated, gazelle. The gazelle is a small swift animal found in hot and arid wilderness areas. Arabs have been known to train falcons to swoop down on the gazelle, stunning them, so that hunters may overtake them more easily. There are over sixty different varieties of the gazelle. The Dorcas Gazelle is found in the regions of Syria and Palestine. They may reach speeds of forty-five miles per hour over a distance of six or seven miles (Steven Barabas, The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967), p. 42).
The Bible says of this Dorcas, “…she became ill and died…” (Acts 9:37). We are still speaking of this woman hundreds of years after her presence. We wonder if the same may be said of Mr. Jennings five-hundred years from now? Often, those whose lives are dedicated to serving Christ and his church do not receive proper recognition. But, they shall one day be more than recompensed (1 Corinthians 15:58). We may never be of celebrity status with earnings exceeding into the millions; nor as endowed intellectually as Ken Jennings. Still,
we may with Tabitha-Gazelle be found on the mountain of eternity, in the service of the Lord our God.

-Robert M. Housby

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