Friday, September 28, 2012

1 Timothy 5:14-16


Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 5:14-16

Paul says that he would advise younger widows to marry, participate in their families, and live up to the promises to which they can live up.  He is concerned that some have already begun to fall away because they did not follow this advice.  If anyone has a family member who is genuinely a widow, then they should care for them.  This way the church can focus on people who truly have nobody else to care for them.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Notice Paul’s continued thought on people promising what their hearts can actually do.  Paul would rather a young widow confess that she would like to be with another man than to make some bold proclamation of faith that she can’t follow through on.  Please understand that Paul isn’t telling people to take the easy road.  Paul is simply asking us to be realistic about that which we can and cannot commit.  Paul is saying that it is better for us to be faithful in the things that are possible than to set up grand promises and fail.  For when we fail on our promises, we open ourselves up to attack from others as well as guilt from within.

Have you ever thought about the dangers of making promises that are simply out of your reach?  Have you ever made promises that you simply were unable to attain?  How did your failure affect the relationships with the people affected by your inability to keep the promise?  Although Paul is certainly talking about widows in this passage, do you think that his generalized point is applicable to anyone?

Second Thought:
Paul speaks about people who have fallen away from the faith and who have even begun to pursue the way of Satan.  Satan is a word that means adversary, so Paul is talking about people who are following the ways that are adversarial to God.  Here’s why Paul is so concerned about this dynamic in the midst of faithfulness.  Let’s say that I promise to pray every day.  I do really well for a few weeks.  Then I start to slip.  Suddenly I pray every other day.  I compensate for a while by praying twice as long after having a day where I don’t pray at all.  But soon I’m not praying very often.  Maybe I even stop praying altogether.  Suddenly I am bound by guilt.  I think myself incapable of being faithful.  I doubt myself.  Suddenly I am susceptible to Satan’s whisper when he says, “You can’t be faithful, why even try?”  Pretty soon I find myself believing that if I can’t do it, then I might as well have fun in this life since I can’t be faithful anyway.  It is a very slippery slope – and it begins with us making promises to do things that we simply are unprepared to do.  This is why Paul is so concerned that within our faith we take time to honestly evaluate what we can and cannot achieve – and then be honest about it.

Have you ever had this pattern of guilt happen within you?  Have you ever promised to be extremely faithful only to experience backsliding?  If you were to honestly evaluate your faith life, what are you genuinely capable of doing?  If you were to look at the PoWeR SuRGe model, what level are you able to commit and succeed?  Why do you think it is better to be successful at a lower level than it is to make grand declarations of faith that may or may not come true?

Third Thought:
Paul talks about families taking care of one another so that the church can genuinely take care of those who have nobody.  Think about this for a second.  What this implies is that the church is there for others.  In fact, what it really implies deep down into its core is that the church is there for the people of this world who have nobody else.  Isn’t that a really cool thought?  In the church there is an answer for people who have nobody else to turn.

As neat as that thought is, how many of our churches don’t ever get to that level?  We spend so much time focusing on ourselves that sometimes we never get to the people that need us.  So often we approach our faith and our places of spirituality with the attitude of “what can it do for me” instead of “what can it help me do for others.”

Why do you think so often our places of worship revolve around what we can get out of it instead of what it can help us do for others?  What does this teach us about human beings – even human beings who are genuinely in a relationship with Christ?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 5:17-19
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