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Family First

Daily Reading: 1 Timothy 5

Scripture Focus: But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. (1 Timothy 5:4)

Devotional Thought: Ancient Biblical culture is foreign to us, and often misunderstood and taken out of context. In our age of insurance, government assistance, and exceeding wealth (relative to ancient times), the importance that Jesus and the early church places on caring for widows and orphans can be puzzling to us. In Biblical times, responsibility for family was of utmost importance. In the early church, the meaning of family was extended even further, to include brothers and sisters in Christ.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul instructs him to “honor widows who are truly widows. But, if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household… for this is pleasing in the sight of God,” (v3-4). This is meant to be instructive to the entire family, including the widow herself. Each has God-honoring responsibility to the family. The children/grandchildren are to support the widow, who would have no resources with the loss of her husband. Paul sees this as an opportunity for them to show godliness and to please God. The widow herself is to set her hope on God, and continue in prayer night and day, and not be self-indulgent (self-pitying).

Although we live in a very different culture, there is a lesson here for us as well. Our family is our responsibility first and foremost. While we may not financially abandon our older family members in their need, we may physically or emotionally abandon them. In our culture of increasing busyness, it is tempting to forget or push aside those who have already “lived full lives.” To do so is to our own detriment, as well as theirs. Providing comfort, support, and encouragement to those in need is beneficial to us as well – it helps us learn to show godliness and is pleasing to the Lord.


Prayer: Lord, give us hearts of compassion for those who need us, especially our own family members. Give us the strength and the character that we need to love and care for those whom you love.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 119.105-112

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.

106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,

to keep your righteous rules.

107 I am severely afflicted;

give me life, O Lord, according to your word!

108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,

and teach me your rules.

109 I hold my life in my hand continually,

but I do not forget your law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,

but I do not stray from your precepts.

111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,

for they are the joy of my heart.

112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes

forever, to the end.

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