The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 139

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate relatives, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim. 5:8).

The apostle Paul planted many churches on his missionary journeys. Timothy had actually travelled with him and shared in the evangelization of many of those churches. Paul later delegated Timothy (and Titus too) to carry out special work in them, and gave instructions for this purpose. The letters he wrote to these two men are often called ‘pastoral letters’ because they were mainly to do with ‘looking after’ the church.

One of the issues which Paul addressed in this letter is the caring for widows in the church. Widows were particularly vulnerable in those days, and still are today in those countries where there are no pensions, government assistance, insurances, welfare institutions and the like. There were widows in the church who were in financial need. And so Paul instructed: “give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need” (1 Tim.5:3, NIV, emphasis mine). The KJ version says “Honour widows who are really widows”. The phrases ‘really in need’ and ‘really widows’ refer to those widows who do not have any family to support them. It is therefore the church’s responsibility to do so.

However, there were professing Christians in the church who were not supporting the widows in their families. Paul said that their behaviour was effectively a denial of their faith. Why? Because Scripture portrays God as compassionate towards, and the Defender of the weak, the widow, and the orphan! So Paul instructed: “If any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God” (KJV).

The first ‘ministry’ we need to learn is how to honour our parents. Honouring goes much farther than just providing for their financial security (which is broadly the issue Paul deals with here). It also means having fellowship with them. It involves how we speak to them and about them. God is so concerned about the way we treat our parents that the command “Honour thy father and thy mother” is the only command with a promise attached to it! Read about it in Ex.20:12. Put another way, if you want God’s blessing, don’t dishonour them!

Perhaps its time to put all your other ministries ‘on hold’, and examine yourself in the light of your responsibilities to your parents and grandparents. How much time have you set apart for them? Are you too busy? Are you, effectively, ‘worse than an unbeliever’? Think about it and repent.

God awaits your next move!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues