I Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
In this passage, Paul is training Timothy to Pastor a church. Calling someone ‘an unbeliever’ was the harshest words he could use. To not take care of one’s family – providing food, clothing, shelter – was the worst of all crimes. In every society, in every nation, families are expected to care for their own and if they do not, they are scorned, arrested, imprisoned, and condemned.
Parents are expected to provide food, clothing, and shelter for their children until they reach maturity and can provide for themselves. Husbands and wives are expected support each other financially, which also includes all of the above items. It is even expected in many societies that adult children will provide these basic needs for the parents when they are too old to provide for themselves.
Is that it? Have we met our obligation, fulfilled God’s law, by providing the basic necessities of life? Where is the provision for education, love, a heritage, a sense of belonging? These are some of the other necessities of life. Without community, a sense of belonging, being wanted, and being needed, people give up hope and merely exist. They no longer have a meaningful life.
Yes, we have a mandate to provide more to our families than just life’s necessities. We must instill in our children their value and worth …give them a sense of family with stories about their ancestors …help them find a good path and a purpose in life.
To our parents, we owe our lives and should provide for them when they are old. But more than that, we need to continue to make them feel useful, wanted, and an integral part in our daily lives.
To our spouses, we owe mutual respect and love. Each helping the other in daily tasks. Sharing our hopes and dreams and moving together to accomplish these makes the journey of marriage so much better.
As we consider the passage from I Timothy, we must also think about extended family? When you join the family of God and accept Jesus as your Savior, you become part of a much larger family. God’s family is made up of every Christian believer on the planet. How do you care for all of them?
- Start with prayer. Pray for the body of Christ daily. Pray for your church and its leaders, volunteer workers, and other members. Whether you know their names or not, you can pray for their physical and spiritual welfare. Then shift to a broader scope and pray for the whole body of Christ across the world. Pray for unity among believers, for God to open doors to spread the Gospel, peace in their nation, etc.
- Next, look for those in your local body who need extra help. Maybe they are struggling financially and need a little extra money to get through the month. Maybe they have suffered physically and could use a meal prepared for them. Maybe they just need a friend to listen to them. Ask God to speak to you and to reveal those whom your support would benefit. If you are unable to fill the need, reach out to someone who can.
- Open your heart to the Lord and ask Him daily how you can care for your spiritual family of God and He will lead you to do amazing things. If He leads you to do something, He will also provide what you need to accomplish the task.
Remember, it is not a chore to provide for God’s children, it’s a privilege and a joy. Whether serving your immediate family, relatives, members of the church community, or complete strangers, providing for the body of Christ is an honor and a joy.
So, remain receptive to the opportunities God places in your path, and serve with obedience and joy.