Here’s a chapter about life in the church. If we ever wanted to know what the church was like in its most pristine days, we get a nice open window in 1 Timothy 5.
We can see how believers were to treat their fellow church members (1-2). Notice the family language here.
We can see how the church was to care for widows who were left without any resources in life (3-16). There’s a command here for biological families to care for one another. And there are built-in protections for the church. Not every widow should be enrolled if there were other relatives to whom they could go for support.
We can see how “elders” were to be treated and how they were to act (17-20). They were worthy of honor, and they also had a responsibility to live faithful lives. There might be times when elders ought to be publicly rebuked.
And we see what appears to be some personal instructions from Paul to Timothy (21-25). It’s interesting to me here that Timothy had “frequent ailments.” So much for the word-of-faith/prosperity gospel idea that those who truly are Christians should never get sick!
I guess the picture that stands out to me here is the idea that biological families were to care for their relatives. Children were to care for the widowed parents.
We’ve been talking in our gatherings lately about the church as a family – the idea that the church was designed to operate like an ancient Mediterranean family. We have obligations to one another, and the unity and protection we have in this new surrogate family is a blessed thing.
But we ought not to lose sight of the fact we also still have a responsibility to our biological families. Yes, our church families come first, but God doesn’t want us to abandon our biological families in the process. We still care for them even if our ultimate allegiance now is to Christ.
Some in our culture today want to destroy the nuclear family – to break it up. I suppose this is so they can force people to rely more on the government. A Christian, however, has a duty to his or her parents, to support them.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Is there a person in your family whom you ought to call today?