Timothy was the last person to leave the building. He reached up and messaged his neck.
WOW, these muscles are tight.
He looked up and continued the prayer he thought he’d finished in the church. “Father, are You sure I’m the right man for the job? I sure wish I had the same level of spiritual guidance You gave to Your Apostles. They always know what to say at the right time.”
A man approached carrying a satchel.
Timothy’s face lit up. “Have you heard from Paul? How is he? Did he come with you?”
The man shook Timothy’s hand, then hugged him. “It’s good to see you Brother Timothy. It’s been a long journey, but, one I had to make.”
He reached into the satchel and pulled out a scroll. “I believe all the answers to your questions will be addressed in here. It’s a letter from Paul. He told me to get it to you as soon as I could.”
Timothy’s eyes watered as he took the scroll in his hands. He smelled the parchment trying to get a whiff of his mentor. He hugged it and wiped his eyes.
Timothy looked at his friend. “I hope you can stay awhile. We have a spare room if you need it. Please excuse me. I need to read this letter now.”
The man nodded. “I will be staying on. Thanks for the offer…”
The church door closed behind Timothy. He found a seat close to a window and carefully unrolled the scroll. He devoured each word slowly.
Once he’d completed a first reading he went back to the section that dealt with the subject at hand from the previous meeting.
Widows who have absolutely no family to care for them should be cared for by the church. Anyone with family, be it children or grandchildren, should turn to their family first. These family members must learn to repay their parents and grandparents for the investment in their lives. Anyone who refuses to care for immediate family is worse than an unbeliever, he is denying the faith. Widows who live for pleasure are as good as dead.
Only widows who are over 60 should be added to a list as ones to be cared for by the church. Younger widows are encouraged to re-marry so they can turn their passions to raising a family and helping others.
Timothy read on a bit, then, went back to the section just before that one.
Treat older men as fathers, older women as mothers, younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters.
Timothy looked up. “Forgive me, Father. I needed to hear this admonition before the meeting. Help me to deal better with Your flock.”
He rolled the scroll up a bit more to find the most personal message.
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young for this job. Be an example for others in your conduct, speech, attitude and purity. Until I come…
Timothy looked up, again. “He’s coming! Dear Lord Jesus let him come quickly.”
Mentors are special people. Timothy and Paul shared a special bond in their service of Jesus Christ and establishing the church in its infancy. I hope I properly captured Timothy’s enthusiasm as he received his first letter from Paul.
Dealing with the needy has always been an issue for churches. They want to help those who truly need it, and not those who can get help from elsewhere so the limited resources can go as far as possible.
Widows would definitely fit this category. Those with children, or grandchildren, to move in with wouldn’t need to drain these resources from the church.
It appears that Paul was trying to establish a coalition of widows to help fill some needs in the church. He suggests they care for others to the point of washing feet and all kinds of good deeds. Nothing too strenuous, just being down-right good folks.
Paul wanted younger widows to be able to re-marry so they wouldn’t become busy-bodies. If they became attracted to a man and wished to re-marry, then, Paul says: “Go for it.” It’s better to do that than to follow their lusts into sinning.
Timothy needed encouragement from the elder man of God on many fronts. Not the least of which was how to handle other people. The establishment of Jesus’ church came with its own set of unwritten rules to guide it.
Timothy was a gifted young man set apart by God to lead the church. Older men would have a hard time accepting instruction from somebody who hadn’t been around the block as often as they had. Paul gave him much-needed council.
Treating people like family is just the most commonsense approach to avoid conflict. Give your elders respect without backing down from the truth, and give others the respect of equality while presenting the truth are the best ways to handle delicate situations.
In no way should the truth ever be compromised. False teachers were already cropping up trying to deceive people into following them. That was the main focus of Paul’s letter to Timothy: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
So, how about you? Are you compromising the truth to fit your agenda? Are your parents being neglected so you can drive a more expensive car than you need? Is God’s church being helped, or hindered, by your work?
Take a hard look before you answer those questions.
The reason I chose this passage of scripture today is because it’s the best place to end the posts on widows and orphans. It’s the last place of I can find that directly addresses this issue first-hand.
It also gives me the best place to launch my next series of posts about teenagers in the Bible. Okay, Timothy wasn’t a teenager at this point, but the reference about not letting people dis him for his youth fits.
I hope you continue to follow me as we look at that awkward stage of life and how God can make a difference even then.
I’ll see you later. Wade