READ: 1 Timothy 5
THINK: This is one of those chapters that may seem a little odd or a little unnecessary for us today because it is so culturally couched in Timothy’s world a couple thousand years ago. But Paul’s advice is actually really cool here, and what I want all of us to see is that it gives a big picture of who God is and how God cares.
Even in the first couple verses Paul writes something that paints a picture of how God wants his people to relate to one another. And those verses, if any of the verses in this chapter, might make a lot of sense to us. But check it out: in the first century Roman world, that stuff was counter-cultural. And not just mildly. The idea of treating old people and women with respect, and displaying purity towards young women in your interactions was a total paradigm shift for many in that culture. It simply wasn’t the reality that they were living in. And here Paul says, “This is what God is calling you to.” Our thought might be, “Duh!” but the first people who heard this thought, “Wow!”
This is the same with the section on widows. In the first century, widows had no rights. Like zero. And they were considered to be the property of their husbands. So if a husband died then the widow was basically helpless unless she could find another one or she had family that could afford to care for her. Paul basically says, “Hey, if she can find another husband cool. If she has some family that can care for her cool. If she can’t then the church has to take care of her. We cannot abandon widows.” Again, the response of the first readers would have been, “wow!”
This was a new concept – that we should respect and love everybody around us and take special care of the least of these and the needy. That’s what Paul is getting at in this chapter. And that’s a pretty big takeaway for us. The specifics of what he says may not apply, but the picture that we get of who God is and who he created us to be in relation to one another is one that makes a difference for us.
Today, I want all of us to ask ourselves – really honestly – the following questions:
– Am I treating everyone around me with honor, purity, and respect? How can I improve in this area?
– Am I leveraging myself for the “least” around me? How can I improve in this area?
PRAY: Take some time to discuss your answers to those questions with God. Ask him to give you a vision for how he wants you to reflect him to those around you.