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12th August 2012
When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about honouring widows (1 Timothy 5), he wasn't just providing instructions for caring for those whose husbands had died, but he was also outlining some principles that had practical implications for churches at the time, and also for us today.
Paul's apostolic command to "continue to remember the poor" (Galatians 2:10) points us to the fact that churches are to care for the most vulnerable members of our community as part of everyday life. The early Church cared for the neediest in the community, and the leaders gave themselves not only to prayer and the Bible (which are vital), but also to the poor (see Acts 61-4).
Whether it's as individuals or as a church, we mustn't neglect the needs of the poor. We know from both teaching and example in the Bible that the gospel isn't limited to a verbal proclamation of good news (though that is essential), but there is also a demonstration of the good news, whether that's in power, healings or acts of kindness. It is right for the church to support the poor – it's a reflection of the very heart of God! This can be the economically poor (those with no food, shelter or clothing, or in debt), the oppressed poor (the powerless, those with no voice) or the spiritually poor (those who don't know Christ).
As Paul writes to Timothy in this passage, if we have immediate family in need we must support them. We are called to honour our parents. We are blessed with welfare provision in this country, but that doesn't mean that we lose our responsibility to care for our families and for others in our communities too. Interestingly, though we have a responsibility to provide for people's essential needs, those who are poor are not to look to the church, but to God (verse 5).
Jesus was frequently moved by compassion – we need that compassion to flood our hearts as well.
Verses: 1 Timothy 5:3-16
Food for thought:
Posted by Paul Mann
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