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1 Timothy

Aug 15, 2021 | Randy Gunter

The High Call of God for Women and Men

The High Call of God for Women and Men

9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:9-10 ESV)

We are not to think of this passage as qualifications for financially assisting widows. Instead, Paul outlines the qualifications for women to serve in the official widow ministry.

Why is such a ministry not present in the church?

The high calling of ministry for older widows

There was an official ministry of the Ephesian church in which some widows surrendered and served. The church extended a call to desiring women who met the qualifications.

Paul doesn’t list the duties of the women; instead, he focuses on their qualifications. She must:

  1. Not be less than 60 years old.
  2. Faithful to her husband
  3. Have a good reputation, specifically about:

    1. Raising children
    2. Being hospitable
    3. Washed the feet of the saints
    4. Cared for the afflicted
    5. Devoted to every good work

Each characteristic is others-focused.

Men, encourage your wives to live faithfully, having a good reputation.

Ladies, press toward God’s standard for your lives. His Spirit is empowering you, his word is guiding you, and his church is encouraging you to walk in your calling.

The high calling of ministry for younger widows

11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows. (1 Timothy 5:9-16 ESV)

Young widows were not allowed to take the widow ministry vow and serve as those sixty and older. The reason is simple, they have the high call of God to be married, have children, and manage their households.

God calls some people to singleness. It is a unique calling that allows the individual to serve God’s kingdom undividedly (1 Corinthians 7:32). However, God calls most of us to marriage and family. Paul understood this well, so he wisely told Timothy not to enroll younger widows, who might take the vow but not fulfill it when she longs for marriage again.

Principles for all of us to learn

  • We should prioritize our families above all others.
  • Qualifications for ministry are the biblical norm; it is abnormal not to have a high standard for those who minister in the name of the Lord.
  • Life’s tragedies may be the opportunity for your most significant ministry and impact.
  • The accumulative effect of walking with Christ will be evident in your senior years.
  • We see and understand Christ most clearly when we focus our lives on loving him and others.

Series Information

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