Serving Widows Well
Serving Widows Well, Part 1
1 Timothy 5:3-8
Honoring parents is foundational to society. We see this in the Ten Commandments.
God intends us to exercise love and honor with our parents. 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. 3 Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:1-4 ESV)
Having the right attitude and actions to our parents (as children or adults) is crucial to God.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul writes explicitly about children’s responsibility to their widowed parents and the church’s responsibility to true widows needing their care.
To the widows
God is attentive to you and will care for you.
- God warns those who mistreat you. (Exodus 22:22-24a)
- God promises to execute justice for the fatherless and the widow. (Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5)
- God demands that his people focus on widows and care for them. (Isaiah 1:17)
- God requires the church to minister to widows. (James 1:27)
Caring for widows is important to God, so it must be a focused ministry of the church.
See 1 Timothy 5:3-8
When Paul says “honor widows,” he’s referring to vulnerable women without the means of support or income, whose husbands may have left them or who are no longer living. Thus Paul writes, “Honor widows who are truly widows.” In other words, honor and provide for women without resources and family to care and support them.
The first line of defense and support for widows is family, and the church is second to assist widows with no family.
Family support (in attitude and actions) is a duty, but it is not merely an obligation; it reveals love for God and others. If you are a child or a grandchild, you are God’s plan to provide for your widowed mother and grandmother.
The Apostle Paul says that as we show honor to widowed family members—caring and providing for them—we put our faith in action, allowing us to show godliness and give back to those who provided life and support to us.
God sees and is pleased when children and grandchildren honor and provide for the widows of their family (v. 4). The implication is that God sees and is displeased when we dishonor them and fail to provide for our families.
The US culture elevates individualism and self-gratification. However, the kingdom of God promotes community and family and deferred gratification.
Our call in life is to live sacrificially, as our Lord demonstrated for us. Honoring family widows will cost us in time, energy, emotion, convenience, and resources, but it pleases God, who is a rewarder of the faithful.
Three Calls in the Passage
God’s call to the family
God’s call to the church
God’s call to widows