Monday in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 5:3-16

On the Care of Widows

Several years ago when I was serving as pastor, the church had a benevolence fund that was for use of people in need of help.  The funds were garnered from the offering collected on the first Sunday of each month in which the church observed communion; an excellent arrangement, or so it seemed.  In practice, what happened was that our church acquired a reputation for having this fund which was generally wiped out every month paying the bills of people in the community who never darkened the door of any church and apparently had no intention of doing so.  Well, The deacons and I began a study the “pastoral letters” (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) and came to the conclusion that the money collected on “Communion Sunday” should be used to aid our own people (especially widows) who had been faithful to the church for years.  By doing this, the fund was allowed to grow and we were eventually able to help a faithful widow in our own small church with a bill which amounted to a few thousand dollars.  I’ll never question the rightness of that decision.  (And by the way, a separate fund maintained the by the ministers of all the town’s churches provided for general poor relief.)

I will not delve into the specifics of this passage but only say that it primarily teaches us two things: 1) Those aged women who have served the church faithfully for a number of years who have both limited means and familial support should be cared for by the church at least to the extent that the church can render such aid; and 2) Those families which are able to see to the care of their older relatives have a sacred obligation to do so.  We need not get caught up in details as if the Apostle were providing a checklist; in other words, as if she should be struck from the list who never married or married more than once and never had children—just as Paul did not intend in his qualifications for elders that they must be married with children.  These are general principles emphasizing the care of “widows indeed” who are aged, indigent, and forlorn, but who have been faithful servants to the Lord and His church.  It is simply scandalous that the church would not see to the care of these.  At the same time, it is even more scandalous that families with the means would not return the debt of kindness to their parents for all the years of care unto them.

We live in a society which has taken this burden from churches for the most part.  I don’t know if that is for better or worse.  But let not churches ever feel that their burden is lifted to care for those who have cared for her.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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