I googled scripture and family and then followed a link to one titled ‘Family Love’. I was a little shocked at the second verse to come up. The first one, we all know as the love verse, “Love is patient …” I’m sure I don’t have to write any more of that. But the second one, I remember reading before, but really I had basically read over it, it hadn’t stuck with me. So I looked into it a little further and, how cool! It was actually talking about family AND faith! So now I am very intrigued. So let’s dig into this thing and see what we find, okay?
The verse is 1 Timothy 5:8. It’s sandwiched in scriptures talking about widows and how they are cared for. But if you read it in context, you can see it is about more than just widows. The verse says,
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Now that is a harsh one isn’t it! Let’s dissect it a bit shall we?
The word translated as provide carries with it the meaning of foresee or think ahead, to consider in advance. Isn’t that just how God is with us? Isn’t He always looking ahead, considering in advance the needs we have? Isn’t it awesome to rest assured in this? Should bring a peace about our every day life.
The word relatives really is more implied as the word means one’s own, belonging to one’s self. We find this word in John 13 as well. It reads,
“… And as He [meaning Jesus] had loved those who were His own in the world, He loved them to the last and to the highest degree.”
He loved his own in this world. He loved them so much, He gave His life for them. So what do you think, would this apply to us as well? Do you think we would be His own? And if Jesus loved us like that, shouldn’t we love others like that? Especially our own?
Then it says, especially for their own household. Household can mean those belonging to your house, your family, blood related, kindred, or house of God. Know what is cool about this word household? We find it in Ephesians 2, and it is talking about us! Those of us who are followers of Jesus. It says,
“He came and proclaimed peace for you who were far away and for you who were near. For through him, both of us have access to the Father by one Spirit. That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household,”
WE are members of God’s household, doesn’t this make you feel free! We are considered God’s own, part of His household. Who better to belong to than God huh? And He took us in when we were dirty, rotten, scoundrels. We had nothing to offer him. And honestly, you know as well as I do, we aren’t always on our best behavior. And He will never tell us to leave. We can always find a place with him. Our Father in Heaven is always waiting for us with open arms and a comfy lap.
So far we know this passage is talking to anyone with someone who is their own, someone they love, especially who is in their house, family, related, or a member of God’s household. They are to foresee, think ahead, and consider in advance the needs of those people. Wow, now that is responsibility isn’t it! I don’t think this means that people aren’t to be responsible for their own selves and pull their own weight when they can. In context this is found in the middle of talking about widows, someone who would find it difficult to provide for themselves given their circumstance. You can’t just sit around and have everything handed to you. In reality, we are each responsible for this, it doesn’t say if you are a man, if you are rich, if you are old, it says ‘anybody.’ Everyone taking care of everyone. Of course there are some extreme circumstances where someone would need cared for and they are unable to contribute. But in general its probably more like ‘let me help you help you.’ Or let me help you out of this circumstance so you can become independent and help the next person. Does this make sense? I could be wrong as this is strictly my thoughts and opinion there.
Moving on. What happens if we don’t? Let’s keep moving through the sentence.
Denied … well, it means just what we think it means, to reject, not accept, deny something. What are we denying then? It says denied the faith. Whoa! Hold the horses here! So if I don’t take care of the people in my life that God considers as my own, I in essence have denied my faith? How does He come to this conclusion? In Albert Barnes’s commentary, he puts it this way:
“By his conduct, perhaps, not openly. He may be still a professor of religion and do this; but he will show that he is imbued with none of the spirit of religion, and is a stranger to its real nature. The meaning is, that he would, by such an act, have practically renounced Christianity, since it enjoins this duty on all. We may hence learn that it is possible to deny the faith by conduct as well as by words; and that a neglect of doing our duty is as real a denial of Christianity as it would be openly to renounce it.”
Guess that makes sense doesn’t it. We are called to love one another aren’t we? And if we deny the faith, then we would be an unbeliever wouldn’t we? An unbeliever, refers to someone who is unfaithful, faithless, without trust in God. And if that isn’t harsh enough, the word translated as worse, means more evil or aggravated. OUCH!
Some pretty harsh stuff here pertaining to family and our faith. Who knew they were so interconnected? I think God is pretty family focused, maybe we need to be as well.