Help Those In Need
O Lord, You are such a loving, giving God who has given me so very much! I praise You!
Read 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-16
 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.  Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.  The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.  But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.  Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame.  If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,  and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.  As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry.  Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge.  Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.  So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.  Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.  If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does Paul urge Timothy to treat people?
The old and the young can often feel undervalued in society, but Paul regards them as valuable, if vulnerable, members of the community (1,2). It’s great that Christianity is not just a religion of words. We must put our faith into practice by helping other family members in need.
Paul values the sacrifice people make to help others, and does not want believers or the church to forgo their valuable resources when there is a close family member able to help (4) or the person is not really in need. During a recession, usually a time of high unemployment, many people can lose their jobs and may need temporary assistance through the downturn. In those cases, churches and Christian organizations designed to provide relief or help in finding jobs can do admirable work.
Paul warns against over-reliance on others, resulting in a reluctance to provide for oneself. Potentially this can result in the person becoming lazy and a gossip! Even if we have a low financial status, however, we can have a great spiritual status through serving God (10,14).
Is there anyone you know in need? How might you help them or volunteer for a charity that does?
Lord Jesus, give me a heart of compassion for those in need, and wisdom in helping them well.
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