“1 Timothy 5:9-16”
Categories: 1 Timothy
“A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.”
---End of Scripture verses---
The leaders of a local church should not spend the Lord’s money on just any “good cause” that they consider to be worthwhile. The funds that a congregation has accumulated from collections made on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) should be used on the work that the Lord commanded and authorized His church to do. The Lord gave “gifts” to the church to provide “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). Any use of a church’s money that does not involve teaching the saints (Christians) and tending to their needs and building up the body of Christ by teaching the Gospel to the lost, is a misuse of the Lord’s resources.
We see in today’s reading that even when saints are truly in need, discretion is to be involved when assisting them with money taken from the “church treasury”. Women were very dependent upon men for the daily necessities of life in New Testament times, and widows were a particularly vulnerable class of people. Paul forbade putting young widows on “the list” (verse 9) of widows that would be permanently provided for by a church. While temporary assistance would certainly be appropriate, the best course of long-term action was for “younger widows to get married” (verse 14) and have their husbands support them. We also see, again, that if a widow had family members with the means to support her, they should do so because “the church must not be burdened” (verse 16).
The church of Jesus Christ is not the “benevolence society” that most people in the world make it out to be. Benevolence is one aspect of the work that a congregation is authorized to do, but even benevolence was relegated to the truly needed members of the Lord’s blood-bought body. We must do our best to not be a “burden” upon Lord’s church. There are only limited resources, and the bulk of them should be used on spiritual, not physical, pursuits. “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Please read 1 Timothy 5:17-20 for tomorrow.
Have a great day!
- Louie Taylor