This morning I was reading through 1 Timothy and this verse stuck out to me.
1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
In this passage Paul starts talking about taking care of widows and specifically here he sets out in what circumstances to not support them.
Who is 'them' in that verse? It can't be the widows. That wouldn’t make sense. He's saying that the children or grandchildren should learn to take care of their parents ie the widow. Paul was teaching that it's more important to teach children (of any age) to honor and take care of parents than it is for the church to support them.
2 thoughts came to mind as I was thinking about this.
- There are some things that are actually the responsibility and function of the family rather than the church. The church shouldn't do everything. There are things that families and individuals must do.
- Discipleship sometimes includes NOT doing things in order that others might learn. The church could have helped these widows as they helped others but it wouldn't have taught these believers to obey the first commandment with promise (see Eph. 6:2).
It's hard to say, "No, I won't do that. It would be better for you if I didn't." I think it's especially hard in a discipleship relationship. You can't let your heart grow cold and say, "I don't care; you deal with it." But you also can't jump in and do everything for the other person. It's a tightrope that every discipler has to walk. When do I say no so they learn? When do I say yes?
When's the last time you had to say no so that someone else could learn?