Providing for Relatives

3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:3-8

There’s a general principle here about helping those who can’t help themselves. In this instance, Paul referred to widows, but it could easily apply to orphans, foreigners in a strange land, and others in similar situations.

Verse 8 is certainly interesting in light of Western society’s nursing home mentality for the elderly. Gone are the days when families housed their elderly parents. The workers in retirement and nursing home facilities do what they can but they are paid for their work. After their 8- or 10-hour shift, they can leave.

Paul’s remarks are strong in verse 8 and probably should be heeded more than it is.

I don’t know where you are at in regards to your aging relatives, but it would be wise of us to do what you can while they are still around. That may mean financial and emotional sacrifice, but Paul’s words were very clear about this issue.

I cannot possibly know your current situation. Ask God to guide you in this regard.

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