We find ourselves in Chapter 5 of Paul’s first letter to Timothy in this Sincerely Yours podcast. According to Paul, the “fruit” of a person’s life is to be noted when giving them assistance and, no matter what our stage in life, it’s only then that those around us will truly taste the sweetness. Which leaves all of us with a choice to make, and it’s one we’ll explore in this devotional.
1 Timothy 5 (TLB)
5 Never speak sharply to an older man, but plead with him respectfully just as though he were your own father. Talk to the younger men as you would to much-loved brothers. 2 Treat the older women as mothers, and the girls as your sisters, thinking only pure thoughts about them.
3 The church should take loving care of women whose husbands have died if they don’t have anyone else to help them. 4 But if they have children or grandchildren, these are the ones who should take the responsibility, for kindness should begin at home, supporting needy parents. This is something that pleases God very much.
5 The church should care for widows who are poor and alone in the world if they are looking to God for his help and spending much time in prayer; 6 but not if they are spending their time running around gossiping, seeking only pleasure and thus ruining their souls. 7 This should be your church rule so that the Christians will know and do what is right.
8 But anyone who won’t care for his own relatives when they need help, especially those living in his own family, has no right to say he is a Christian. Such a person is worse than the heathen.
9 A widow who wants to become one of the special church workers[a]should be at least sixty years old and have been married only once. 10 She must be well thought of by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers as well as to other Christians? Has she helped those who are sick and hurt? Is she always ready to show kindness?
11 The younger widows should not become members of this special group because after a while they are likely to disregard their vow to Christ and marry again. 12 And so they will stand condemned because they broke their first promise. 13 Besides, they are likely to be lazy and spend their time gossiping around from house to house, getting into other people’s business. 14 So I think it is better for these younger widows to marry again and have children and take care of their own homes; then no one will be able to say anything against them. 15 For I am afraid that some of them have already turned away from the church and been led astray by Satan.
16 Let me remind you again that a widow’s relatives must take care of her and not leave this to the church to do. Then the church can spend its money for the care of widows who are all alone and have nowhere else to turn.
17 Pastors who do their work well should be paid well and should be highly appreciated, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scriptures say, “Never tie up the mouth of an ox when it is treading out the grain—let him eat as he goes along!” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”
19 Don’t listen to complaints against the pastor unless there are two or three witnesses to accuse him. 20 If he has really sinned, then he should be rebuked in front of the whole church so that no one else will follow his example.
21 I solemnly command you in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ and of the holy angels to do this whether the pastor is a special friend of yours or not. All must be treated exactly the same. 22 Never be in a hurry about choosing a pastor; you may overlook his sins, and it will look as if you approve of them. Be sure that you yourself stay away from all sin. 23 (By the way, this doesn’t mean you should completely give up drinking wine. You ought to take a little sometimes as medicine for your stomach because you are sick so often.)
24 Remember that some men, even pastors, lead sinful lives, and everyone knows it. In such situations you can do something about it. But in other cases only the judgment day will reveal the terrible truth. 25 In the same way, everyone knows how much good some pastors do, but sometimes their good deeds aren’t known until long afterward.