Sermon – August 25, 2019
1 Timothy 5:1-16 – A Family’s Generosity (mp3)
We are said to relate to God in many ways. He is, simply, our God and Creator, the great Potter, who forms us a fashions us. He is our King, and we are the citizens of his realm. Yet, God is also (amazingly) our Father, who provides and protects us against the hard that others might wish to inflict. He is our brother, who lays down his life that we might be co-heirs with him. So, then, we are family as well, bonded by the blood of Jesus together in covenant. This train of thought has many implications for how we are to love and take care of one another. Let us think through one of these applications today as we look at 1 Timothy 5.
1. Expectations of the family
The Lord expects people to watch out and care for their families. As much as he has given us our faith family, he has also given us our traditional families. These are our responsibilities. To not look after them is not only anti-faith, but it is something that even unbelievers in this world know is wrong!
2. Expectations of the church
The same logic applies to our church family. We are our brother’s’ keepers. We must press ourselves to take care of those who have little, to make sure that our wealth is being used to uphold our faith family in times of trial and trouble. Do not let the budgeted benevolence of the church provide you with a false sense of provision – it is still your personal responsibility to take care of others in the church!
3. Expectations of generosity
The qualifications that Paul places on Timothy to help with the enrollment of widows likely has many causes; one likely cause is the fact that the church is made up of mostly poor people. This has two concurrent effects: there is little money to go around and much need. Therefore, Paul has to pump the brakes on the help being offered. But notice: the grand generosity of these churches and Timothy! While having little, they wanted to do much! The early church was quite known for their generosity. Let us work hard so that we may have the same kind of reputation!
4. Expectation of limits
While the church was very generous, the resources were never going to be able to provide for all the help that could have been given. Therefore, the church was to be a last resort. Paul expected much out of his people: they were to work and provide for themselves if they could. Even the widows were to provide for themselves if they could – through marriage if possible. Would Paul expect less out of us?
5. Expectation of problems
Problems will also come. Again, these should be expected. People will use generosity as a springboard for sin. But we know this! God’s generosity is often used in this way. He is long suffering, patient, kind, so that many might be led to repentance. Yet, often, we simply use these gifts as a license to sin more. Our generosity will not be treated differently. Even so, give generously, and help those in need.