Listen:  81 Question 3

The Apostle Paul is particularly speaking to the children of widows here.  In 1 Timothy5:3, the church is instructed to “Honour widows that are widows indeed.”  Widows indeed would be those widows who have no family to help support them.  The responsibility would then fall to the church, or assembly to honor, or provide financially for this widow who had no other means of support.  1 Timothy 5:4 goes on to say “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”  The instruction here was to show that the responsibility to financially support the widows belonged to the widows’ family members and not the church.  1 Timothy 5:8 speaks to those that would refuse to help support the widows in their family.  It says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”  For a child, or distant relative, of an elderly widow: to refuse to help provide support for that person is especially hard hearted and denies the truth of what the Gospel represents.  The verse then goes beyond the support of an elderly widow; we see that we should support all those who are dependent upon us.  That would include those who are of ‘our house’ like our wives and children.  To refuse to provide the needed support for them would bring much dishonor to the Lord.  By our actions, we are denying the Christian faith that tells us to love and care for one another.  Galatians 6:10 teaches us that, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Let’s consider Romans 1:28-31 which says, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;   Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.”  One characteristic of one who is a reprobate is that they have no natural affection.  This means that the affections that are natural in all men are missing in the hearts of those who have turned away from the truth of God’s love and free gift of salvation.  If we refuse to provide for those who are dependent upon us, we are behaving like reprobates.  Even the infidels will provide for their own.

The Greek word for ‘infidel’ is often translated as ‘faithless’ or ‘unbelieving’ in the scriptures.  The Greek word for ‘reprobate’ describes one who is morally worthless.  So, to refuse to provide for our own is to behave like one who has no proper morals.  Indeed, it is worse than an infidel, or unbeliever.

Let’s consider the words of the Apostle John in 1 John 3:16-18 which says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  How, indeed, can we claim to know the Lord Jesus as our savior, but yet disregard the needs of those around us?  Particularly in consideration of the portion before us, how could we walk away from the responsibility we have towards our elderly relatives?