Father, thank You for the family of faith. Help us to live as family and to honor You.
Read: 1 Timothy 5:1-16
 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.  Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 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.  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.  But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.  Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame.  Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,  and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.  As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry.  Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.  So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.  Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.  If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
Reflect: How can you care for the needs of your spiritual family?
Paul tells Timothy to focus on individuals, treating them differently according to their age and sex, and with a good understanding of their real needs. Respect for all is key (3,17; 6:1); leaders should not look down on anyone. “It’s as if you’re all members of the same family,” says Paul, “as in fact you are.” For instance, to different people Timothy is to be like a son and a brother (1).
When trouble comes, the family needs to stick together. That’s also Paul’s advice to Timothy about widows and their immediate families. They should help themselves and one another as much as they can before looking to the church to bail them out (4,5,8,10,16).
And when opportunities come to serve God in new ways, the women Paul has in mind (9-16)–just like everyone else in the church–should be respected and act as good role models in the way they live. They also need to be totally committed to the role, not distracted for one reason or another (11,13).
Ask God to raise up strong leaders and role models in your church, even among those others might look down on.
Prince of Peace, You alone are my peace. You have paid the price for all my sin and have given me hope.