Friday, April 18, 2008

Continuing with Widow Care

9Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

This is the next paragraph from I Timothy 5.
Here Paul goes on to say which widows should be focused on, who should be cared for by the church.
Older women, 60 years plus, who have been married to one man. A woman who has a good reputation, who raised her children, has shown hospitality, has cared for the saints and the afflicted, and has devoted herself to good work. In other words, a woman who has a servant's heart and has lived a life caring for others. This woman should be cared for by the church when she is widowed.

BUT younger women should not be enrolled, or totally cared for physically by the church.
Why? So they don't grow lazy. So they don't lose their passion for Christ should they choose to marry again and have other strong interests. Paul says it important that younger widows marry again, have children, raise them up, manage their households well and give Satan no occasion to attack the church.

If we as women have female family members that are widowed, we should add them to our list of people to care for. If we do so, we will not increase the burden on the church. The church should care for those who are truly widowed -- the women who have been left completely alone.

Now of course I have to wonder...what if a woman who is widowed doesn't fit all the categories above. What if she didn't have any children, or if she was too busy managing her household to care for the afflicted. Would that disqualify her? I know that people in their frailty and sin would find reasons to not help widows in need. So I do think that some care needs to be taken to meet the needs of believing widows, to help them out truly if they need it, even if they don' t meet ALL the requirements set out here by Paul. Find those widows with a servant's heart and passion for God, and help them. That's what Paul is saying here, just help them.

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