Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:3-8
How should we take care of those less fortunate? Once again the Bible instructs us. Paul did not expect the government to take care of widows. Why does he mention widows? A widow without family was a bad as it could get. Women could not own property in most instances and without their husband they had no means of support. They would be reduced to begging in order to scrape by.
Paul draws a distinction between the true widow, one with no children or grandchildren, and a widow with children or a young widow. The young widow who was still of child bearing age would most likely be able to marry again and thus be supported. The widow with children had her children to support her.
Until recently it was considered the children’s responsibility to look after their aged parents. People did not turn to the government or the church for help first. First they turned to family. When there was no family the church was expected to step in and help. Next it would be the individual community that would step in to help.
This all began to change when social security came into being. What was originally intended to be a program of last resort for the aged became more and more as the only program. People’s thinking changed and we slowly begin to think that since the government was taking care of people we no longer needed to. Not only have individuals allowed the federal government to take over our obligation to the elderly but in many instances the churches and the local government have turned this obligation over.
God’s intention was that families would look after their own. When no family existed then the church should take on this responsibility. Finally, those able to work or take care of themselves should do so. Our parents and grandparents are our responsibility, God says so.
Have a blessed day,