What are your responsibilities toward others?

Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty. (Stanislaw J. Lee).

Responsibility

Paul tells Timothy how important it is that he has a right attitude as he deals with people in the church. Since Timothy was a younger man, he might be tempted to ignore the older members.

1. To older people we must show affection and respect (vv. 1-2). An older man is to be treated like a father and an older woman like a mother.

2. To our contemporaries there should be tolerance and sharing (vv. 1-2). The younger men and women are to be treated like brothers and sisters.

3. To those of the opposite sex our relationships must always be marked with purity (v. 2).

No people has ever cared more for its needy and its aged than the Jews. Advice is now given for the care of widows. It was not uncommon in the pagan world of that day for a man to have more than one wife. However, when a man became a Christian he could not go on being a polygamist, and therefore had to choose which wife he was going to live with. That meant that some wives had to be sent away and this placed them in a very unfortunate position. Because there were no pensions, no social security, no life insurance, and few honorable jobs for women, widows were usually unable to support themselves.

Paul stresses the importance of families caring for the needs of widows, and not making it the responsibility of the church, but so the church can care for those widows who have no families (vv. 3-4). The church did not propose to assume responsibility for older people whose children were alive and able to support them. From the beginning the church took care of its widows who in turn gave valuable service to the church.

Application

Ask each family member “If __________________ (a male relative) should die who would be responsible to help care for his widow? Think of several situations. At the end have each person ask themself “Who would I be responsible to help care for?    

I Timothy 5:1-4 (English Standard Version)

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.

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