1 Timothy 5:3-8 It is through our piety and love shown to our parents that God justifies our blessing.
1 Timothy 5:3-8
3 Honour widows who are widows indeed; 4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. 6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Paul in the course of establishing a godly culture in the church teaches honour towards older widows and parents. He urges profound respect for a class of people who are godly and working for the salvation of the nation. He also commands children to care for their parents by regular financial support. In today’s devotion, we realise that it is through our piety and love shown to our parents that God justifies our blessing.
Honour widows who are widows indeed…
Paul sets a culture of giving honour to true widows. He is steering the church in the direction of giving due respect to those who because of their age could no longer support themselves. In the society where the rich and capable often have their way, it is the helpless and the lonely who are trampled upon. However, Paul is not referring to any widows, but “widows indeed”: who has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. Paul is defining a special class of widows who are continually looking for the coming of God’s kingdom upon the earth. Such pray unceasingly for repentance and the reconciliation of their nation towards God. These are a special class of believers whom great honour is due.
They must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family…
Paul addresses the children and grandchildren of widows and makes known to them the importance of according profound respect to their elders. Piety or profound respect translates into the regular giving of financial support. In ensuring the dignity and wellbeing of their parents and grandparents, they must take this first step towards obtaining God’s approval and favour. On the flip side, for those who are unwilling to provide for their parents and grandparents, Paul considers them as non-believers who has rejected even God Himself.
Honour is not ascribed due to one’s length of years but due to his virtues.
Paul insists that honour be given to a special class of widows who are godly and not given to wanton pleasures. Even as society is bent on giving preference to the elderly, it is on account of the wisdom and virtues they acquired through life and for the contributions they made to society. There are older folks who suppose that a head of white hair automatically commands dignity and the reverence of younger people around them. However, God approves of one according to the virtues of the heart, and not according to appearance. Hence, honour is attributed towards one whom God has set His mark of approval and not with respect to his social status, length of days or appearance.
God evaluates the believer’s faith first by his attitude towards his parents, and then towards others.
In God’s order of things, the welfare of one’s parents ranks above all other concerns. Before God approves of the believer and releases more grace to him, He wants his heart’s priorities set right by first tending to the needs of his own parents. Not just in financial terms but more importantly, their emotional needs. One’s attitude towards his parents displays his understanding of God’s structure of authority. One who despises his father who possess parental authority over him, despises God who is over all. In God’s scheme of things, parents hold the key to their children’s blessings; they by their prayers determine their children’s future. In addition to that, caring for one’s parents displays one’s capacity for gratitude for the years of conscientious upbringing. Thus, one who neglects his parents has no trace of faith or godliness in him.
Many churchgoers suppose by their church attendances and religious piety fulfil the commandments of God. For them, caring for their parents is relegated to an obligatory inconvenience which they hope to dispose of as soon as they get a chance. Such will be in for a big surprise on the day of judgment as God looks at the heart and not at one’s form of religious piety. If God translates the caring for the poor into “to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40), how much more weight will God attribute to the caring of one’s parents. God will surely judge the one who has little regard or respect for his parents. On the other hand, God approves of one who cares for his parents and releases more grace to him. God commands Israel, “Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 5:16. This is the only commandment (in the Ten Commandments) that holds an explicit promise.
Do you do your utmost to honour and to cherish your parents? By virtue of the fact that they give birth to you warrants profound respect. Even if they have not adequately done what is in their responsibility to parent you, the respect due them is a divine requirement. It is through your piety and love shown to your parents that God justifies your blessing.
Dear Lord, I have made a decision to honour and love my parents for the rest of their days. I am willing to sacrifice my time and resources to serve them. Use me to bring joy and blessings to their lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.