1 Timothy 5:9-16 “Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 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. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 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. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. 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.”
This section is rather interesting to me as I don’t recall ever studying this before. It seems to give the stipulations that God requires of the church when it has to use it’s resources to care for the needs of Widows. Let’s work through it a bit.
First is the issue of age. If the Widow is under 60 years old, she is to be encouraged to re-marry and bear children. The reason is that she will more than likely still desire the affections of a man and not be at a maturity level to solely have those passions met by Christ. This will also prevent her from becoming idle and a gossip; going around from house to house, or making phone calls from house to house being a busy-body. God is concerned with how these women use their time. And it seems that there is no better use of woman’s time then to spend it raising children. This is sweet and precious and should encourage you in having purpose.
If the Widow is over the age of 60 then she qualifies to be brought under scrutiny to determine whether she is worthy to be cared for financially by the church. Here is the grid she is to be brought through and wow is it a tight squeeze.
She is to have been the wife of only one husband. She is to have a reputation of good works. She is to have brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, cared for the afflicted, and devoted herself to good works. This list is high and showing of what God desires all mom’s to be doing. This is what the Widow’s life was to look like while she was raising her children, so likewise it is the sort of life that all ladies should strive toward.
God desires that all of his children are cared for. And it should frighten ladies that if they have not given themselves to caring for the needs of the Saints, then they are not required to be cared for by the Church if they become a widow. What right does the Widow have to demand that she be cared for by the Church if she was not committed to caring for the needs of the Saints while she was married? Hard things to write. Hard things to read.