Who takes care of the widow?

In February, 1938, the widow of General Philip H. Sheridan died in Washington. But General Sheridan died in 1888. From then until her own death his widow lived quietly in a house filled with memories and mementos of her famous husband. When it was suggested in 1908 that she remar … More

Widows

It appears that Paul thought some were trying to escape their personal responsibility in caring for those in their family and trying to make the church responsible. The primary reference here is to the obligation of children and grandchildren to support their widowed ancestors but in a general way can include the duty of parents to provide for their children (vv. 5-7). Suppose a Christian is unwilling to help support his loved-one?  “He is worse than an unbeliever” (v. 8)!

There is a warning about allowing the “charity” ministry of the church to encourage people to be idle (vv. 9-10). The church certainly needs to help those who need help but should not subsidize those who are not deserving. Every person who is able needs to have a job to do. There is definite connection between idleness and getting involved in sinful practices. 

God’s special care for the widows is a recurring theme in Scripture (Deut. 14:29; Psa. 94:6; Mal. 3:5) It was only right that the local church show compassion to these women who were in need. The church can not care for all the widows in their city, but it should care for all the believers who are a part of its fellowship. Godly widowsare often the spiritual powerhouse in the church and the backbone of the prayer meetings. Special instruction is given for younger widows as they are encouraged to marry again and get busy serving others (vv. 11-16). One thing that widows can do is provide hospitality for God’s servants who are traveling.

Application

Have each person in my family think of someone who has been a big help to them spiritually. Then ask if adequate appreciation has been expressed to them. If they depend on the gifts of God’s people for food, clothing and shelter maybe as a family we could send some financial support as a token of appreciation.

I Timothy 5:5-16 (English Standard Version)

She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self- indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »