Compassion: A Fourteen-day Journey #13

Stewardship Begins at Home


God has ordained the family unit in part so that we can meet one another’s needs. Few social structures, if any, have fed more widows, raised more orphans and encouraged more lonely elderly people than families taking care of other family members in need. For the believer, it is a matter of being like Christ and being an example to others. The Christian must see that the needs of his own family are met. Theologian and pastor John Wesley (1703-1791) considers:

Not yet are we forbidden to provide for our children, and for those of our own household. This also is our duty to do, even upon principles of heathen morality. Every man ought to provide the plain necessities of life, both for his own wife and children; and to put them into a capacity of providing these for themselves, when he is gone hence and is no more seen. I say, of providing these; the plain necessities of life; not delicacies; not superfluities–and that their diligent labor.
Expository preacher Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) weighs in on the issue.

Paul uses family life to illustrate the importance of laying money aside as he spoke to the Corinthian church (2Co 12:14). For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents are for their children. In my pastoral counseling I have listened to many stories of tragic circumstances. Husbands have failed their wives, parents have cheated their children, and grown sons and daughters have neglected their widowed mothers or other dependents. Such shortcomings are soundly and solemnly condemned by the Word of God; in fact, such dereliction of duty is described as worse than infidelity.

In light of the foregoing, it is certainly biblical and practical that savings accounts be established and insurance policies be taken out to cover the needs of dependents, emergency requirements, funeral expenses, and so on. Such financial matters should be openly discussed in every Christian household. With an open Bible and in an atmosphere of prayer, our tithes, offerings, expenses, and savings should be surveyed in a relation to personal, as well as general, income. Happy and healthy in the Spirit is the family that is united on all these matters. In the last analysis, every one of us is responsible to God in time and accountable to Him in eternity (Gal 6:2-10).

1 Timothy 5:1-16 NKJV

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. 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. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and  not  unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to  be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan. If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

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