By Pastor lee Hemen
May 14, 2008
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. (1 Timothy 5:1-6)
What should the ekklēsia, the Body of Christ, His church be doing in the world? Some think that it is to get as many people through its front doors as possible. This seems like a good idea, if you are Wal-Mart, but that is not the New Testament concept of the church nor what it is to be about. The idea of the local church changed dramatically in the early 1900s in America. It went from individuals evangelizing and discipling the lost, to a big box concept of the mass weekend revival every Sunday morning. The Billy Sunday-Dwight L. Moody concept of church Sunday morning evangelism! Yahoo! However, if one would pause for one moment and take a biblical look at Scripture, you do not find it anywhere in its pages nor do you find the Apostles or Jesus teaching it. Do not make the mistake of confusing the Sermon on the Mount or Pentecost with what the church is supposed to be and do as a local ekklēsia, even for Sunday worship. If you do, you are in biblical error.
We find Paul exhorting Timothy, a new pastor who was kind of timid in his leadership, to get some backbone and confront some ungodly issues in his church at Ephesus. The first were false teachers, but the rest dealt with how the church there was not being the local church it should have been. Paul tells Timothy to take care of the “widows,” or for today’s church, the senior adults “who are really in need.” Those who actually needed help because they had no immediate family to take care of them. In fact, these older adults were to be mentors for the younger men and women as godly examples. Those who were widows (or widowers) were to live godly lives by putting “their religion into practice by caring for their own family.” This would bring honor to their own “parents and grandparents” because they were living godly lives. Too many senior adults in our day and age “retire”’ from church and go and do their own thing. Not only is this not biblical, you cannot find retirement mentioned anywhere in Scripture! Not only is there no retirement from your daily duties as a parent or grandparent, but there is no retirement from doing the master’s business in His ekklēsia, church! We have lost sight of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ here in the world!
We find Paul relating that “If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.” (v. 16) Family is supposed to take care of family. Just as a church family is to take care of its own first, so too the Christian family is to make sure their own are provided for! Does your church do this? Many churches put great emphasis on missions, ministries for reaching the lost, but neglect their own members. We have turned the concept of church upside down. The church family is to take care of its own first, so much so that the outside world wonders at the beauty of it! Try getting that done during the next board meeting at your church where they are trying to decide if they want to buy a big screen TV for the youth room, a new fountain for the foyer, or shuttle cars for the parking lot to bring the Sunday morning tourists in.
The truth of the matter is, the world is not attracted to the gospel of Jesus because we do not do enough post modern generation next things on Sunday morning, the world is not being attracted to the gospel because today’s church acts like the rest of the world! It has ceased being a family of God that takes care of its own first and foremost, making sure every member of the Body of Jesus is being taken care of correctly! The church today is more interested in how many camels will be on stage for next year’s Christmas pageant, than making sure its senior adults are taken care of. (And, no, I am not talking about taking another foliage tour or having a Senior Adult Day!)
Today, dear child of the King, pause and think for a moment about those in your church. How many do you know? How many are actually members? Are there those in your congregation that are being neglected because your church is going on another mission’s vacation instead of making sure its own family are properly mentored and provided for? Is your church a family of God or a Wal-Mart? Remember, Christians are not called to be in the “church business,” but to be the called out of God in their community. Pray for your church to be the church of God where you are.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.