1 Timothy 5:3-8
3 Take care of the widows who really need help. 4 But suppose a widow has children or grandchildren. They should first learn to put their faith into practice. They should care for their own family. In that way they will pay back their parents and grandparents. That pleases God. 5 The widow who really needs help and is left all alone puts her hope in God. Night and day she keeps on praying. Night and day she asks God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she is still living. 7 Give those directions to the people also. Then no one can be blamed. 8 Everyone should provide for his own relatives. Most of all, everyone should take care of his own family. If he doesn’t, he has left the faith. He is worse than someone who doesn’t believe.
The thing that strikes me about this passage is God’s care for us and in particular for those who are most vulnerable. He has placed us in families for a reason, to care, provide and support one another.
We are fortunate enough to live in a time and country where the government can provide (to some degree) for those who are without the ability to support themselves. But God’s heart is that the family is where that provision should come from, and Paul is pretty straight forward and even blunt here about the believers role in that provision. As believers we are to be different to unbelievers in our behaviour at all stages of life, though this certainly can be an incredible challenge and almost an impossibility with the complexities and disfunction that can exist in families, it is nevertheless God’s heart for us and he is asking for our response.
Father, thank you for family. Help me to always be mindful of the needs within my extended family and give me the wisdom, grace and ability to give support where needed.
Written by Suzie Hodgson