Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Are We To Be About? Part 1

"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." 1 Timothy 5:9-10

Paul, in instructing Timothy on the qualifications of a widow to be enrolled, gives wives invaluable instruction on what we are to be about as godly women.

As I read this, the one word that comes to mind is "busy!" But the qualified widow has spent her life in more than just busy-ness, she has spent it industriously, doing good works. This is a distinction that I believe needs to be made. I know that it is extremely easy for me to be busy day after day, but that does not mean that I have filled my days with good works or activities of eternal value. The qualified widow hasn't just been "busy"; she has been devoted to "every good work". She has been a wife to one husband; she has been a submissive helpmeet, devoting herself to keeping his home, raising his children, and providing a sanctuary for him (Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1, Titus 2:3-5).

She has brought up children ~ as I looked to my concordance for further clarification on "brought up", the immediate meaning is to fulfil the duties of a female parent. But when we look further into the meaning, it is a word partially derived from another word that means to fatten ~ to cherish(with food, etc), pamper, rear ~ bring up, feed, nourish.

I get a picture of a Mama who is *there* for her children. A Mama who has enjoyed the season of childbearing/raising, taking joy in the children God has graciously blessed her with and nourishing them; with food, yes, but also with the "food" of the Word. It makes me pause and consider if I have "fattened" my children with the bread of life. I also thought of the contrast picture of children who are malnourished ~ what do we think of their mother? What of the spiritually malnourished child? A Mama needs to be *home* and engaged to nourish or bring up her children.

The qualified widow has also shown hospitality. The King James says she has "lodged strangers". She has opened her home and made others feel welcome (1 Peter 4:9). I don't remember who said it, but I have a quote that I wrote in my Bible that says, "The true art of hospitality is making people feel at home when you wish they were." I love that quote because it is a reminder to me that hospitality isn't something to be practised only when I feel like it, or when it's convenient, but it is something that God calls me to ~ on of the characteristics of my life should be joyful hospitality.

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