Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What Are We To Be About? Pt. 2

"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

We are looking at the qualifications of a widow, because they are instruction to us as younger wives as to what we should be about. This is what our lives should look like as godly women. We have already talked about being the wife of one, bringing up children and being hospitable. Now we'll move on to the end of verse 10.

"has washed the feet of the saints," ~ We know that in Biblical times, this was a literal service that was done. So, how do we translate it for today? Well, I suppose we could actually wash the feet of the saints ~ I have often heard of churches who do this, not on a regular basis, but in a special time of fellowship. However, when I read this, I think of nurture, care, and service. We are to love and serve the body of Christ. This is often difficult to do. We might be in a church where most everyone holds different convictions from us. We might be much more conservative, or we might be more liberal. We might feel like we're always swimming upstream, so to speak, with what our leadership would do ministry-wise. Perhaps we believe in family integration within the church, and the church we attend is very program, age-segregated oriented. It can be difficult to see past these differences and love and serve. But, do we have a choice? If we are part of a true church, one that teaches the Bible, that has people who love and long to serve the Lord, then I don't think we do. We must look past our differences, and love them as brothers and sisters. God is the One who decides who is His child, and He is clear that we are to be known by our love. Scripture is full of "one anothers". But, in our day of church hopping, and rugged individualism, we tend to think that we can just move on to a different church, or just choose not to be involved. This is detrimental; not only to us, but to the body as a whole. We may not choose to be deeply intimate with believers who hold convictions very different from our own ~ understandable, especially if we have children that will be affected, but that does not relieve us from our responsibility to live in community and show love and grace to our fellow believers. We have a responsibility to "wash the feet of the saints", and to love those whom God has placed us in fellowship with.

"has cared for the afflicted" This covers a wide range of activities. It could be providing childcare for a young mom who has a child with medical challenges ~ or just going and helping a young mom with toddlers learn how to organize and manage her time well. It could be providing meals for a family going through an illness, a death, or following a birth(although I am not equating birth with affliction!). It could be going and sitting with an elderly person, providing them some companionship and letting them know that they are not forgotten or alone. Maybe it's taking the time to go to the local jail and witnessing to the inmates there. It might be something as simple as a note with an "I'm praying" message. This is definitely "rubber meeting the road" kind of living.

"and has devoted herself to every good work" Well, that's a big nutshell, isn't it? It encompasses pretty much everything. But consider whether your "good works" truely have eternal value. I believe it's also important to look at good works in relation to what *God* says our priorities are to be. When I am in the season of raising children, many things are not going to make it on my list. I will say "no" to many "ministry" opportunties, because God says my family is my ministry. How many folks have you watched, either on the national scene, or locally, that sacrifice their families for the sake of the "ministry"? This is *not* Biblical! In fact more than once, God says that if a man cannot manage his household well, he is disqualified from leading in the church. I am not saying that when God brings someone into your life with a need, that you ignore them. Certainly we are to be open to ministry ~ but there are many things that can be done *as a family*, and within the normal range of our daily lives. We can bake cookies for an elderly neighbor and as a family go visiting. We can open our home for dinner or whatever, to someone who is lonely or hurting. The home should be a central place of ministering to others. We do not have to forsake our first calling of wife and mother in order to serve God; in fact, in keeping our priorities and doing them well, we *are* serving God, and glorifying His name.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2:3-5 emphasis mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging. I really enjoy reading your blog. Some of the things you say are challenging. Please DO NOT water it down though for the sake of not hurting feelings. The body of Christ needs to wake up and hear messages like this. No more tickle the ears messages. We need to read the Word of God and be doers and not only hearers. We love you and your family in Christ.