THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
SCRIPTURE: 1 TIMOTHY 5
In this chapter, Paul continues with his instructions to Timothy about pastoring the church in Ephesus. Paul talks about relationships in the church and responsibilities of the church.
The chapter begins with relationships in the church. Paul refers to the church as a family and encourages Timothy to relate to church members as family members.
We read about older men and older women as well as younger men and younger women. There are a couple of important points here. One is a healthy church will have a wide age range. The other is everyone in the church is important. Churches need older folks to provide stability, wisdom, and ministry. Churches need younger folks to provide energy, vision, and longevity. A church without both groups is not going to do well.
From there Paul moves on to talk about widows. Throughout the Bible, God has much to say about widows. He repeatedly tells His people to take care of the widows. But as we read here, the church’s responsibility to care for widows does not supersede a family’s responsibility to take care of widows in that family.
Remember when Paul was writing this there were not any governmental programs to assist and provide for widows. And since women at that time were typically not working outside of the home, a widow had to depend upon her family or her church for her support. Otherwise, she would be reduced to begging.
Even with all the governmental programs we have in place to care for widows, families and churches still have responsibility. We need to come alongside of them with encouragement and support. But we also need to be wise about how we do that.
Paul goes on to speak about younger widows. Instead of their relying on family or the church for the rest of their lives, Paul encourages them to consider remarriage. And in verse 14 says they should manage their homes (their marriage and family) in such a way that Satan can’t get a foothold in the family. This is important for a couple of reasons. One, everyone deserves to be a part of a strong family. Two, strong families make strong churches and strong churches make a big impact on the world.
When we get to verse 17, Paul changes his topic to the responsibilities of the church. This section has a lot to do with the church’s responsibility and relationship to the pastor. As you might imagine this is a difficult section for me to talk about because I don’t want to appear self-serving. So, let me just make a couple of general observations.
Verses 17-18 are about a church’s responsibility to take care of a pastor financially. By the way, this church does a great job of that. Verse 19 is a caution about listening to rumors or gossip or one person’s opinion about the pastor. That doesn’t mean pastors are perfect. We are not. That’s the reason verse 19 speaks of what to do when a pastor does need correction. And we all do at some point.
Pastoring is hard work. That is not a complaint. It is just a reality. That would be complicated if a pastor were in bad health. So, Paul encourages Timothy to take care of himself. The mention of drinking wine is not permission for pastors to drink. It was an encouragement to take for pastors to take their medicine.
The chapter ends with an admonition to us all. Regardless of what you do – whether that is good or bad – what you do will become evident one day. We would all do well to remember that.