1 Timothy 5:9-15
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
I have held off on writing about this next [portion because frankly I was not sure what to say. I always rely on the Holy Spirit to give me insight, but Paul goes on and on about widows once more, and as I prayed I did not come up with a reason he did this. Oh, I could go to countless commentaries and get their ideas, but that is not my way. I .pray you’ll be patient with me as I write, relying on the Spirit to guide my words. Right now, I am not sure where this will go.
Paul begins by mentioning the older widows, those over 60. This was an old age ion those days as the average life expectancy in Israel at the time was 35-40 years old, with the rich usually living longer. So someone over 60 was rare, especially a widow. Widows had no one but their own children to care for them as women did not work in those days. If the widow did not have any sons, it would be even worse for her. So Paul is admonishing Timothy to accept the older widows into the church.
Notice the list of good works listed associated with widows. The wife of one man, raised her children well, lodged strangers, washed the saints feet, relieved the afflicted and diligently followed every good work. To me this is a picture of someone whop is faithful and has a servants hears. Remember what Jesus said to the disciples when He washed their feet? He said the greatest among you shall be servant of all. This woman served her husband, her children, strangers, the saints and the afflicted. She did not turn her back on anyone. Can you say the same thing? Do you give of yourself until there is no more to give? It would have been easy for this widow to just sit back and take care of her own and not worry about others. But she rose above her hardship and continued to serve others faithfully. God loves that!
We must take every opportunity to help others. If someone comes across our path who needs help or prayer or transportation or food if it is in our power to provide that than we should. This is the main way we witness to those who do not know Christ and also to uplift others in the body of Christ. Colossians 3:23 tells us that whatever we do we should do it with all our heart, as if we are doing it to the Lord Jesus Himself. This means buying groceries or washing someone’s floor for them. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us God loves a cheerful giver. How much He must love it when we cheerfully give of our time and resources to those that need it. Let us all be like this elderly widow and do what God asks us to do.
Contrast this praise of the elderly widow to the stern warning about the younger widow. He warns that if they do not remarry quickly, they will be come busybodies and gossips. Our world is full of people who backbite and speak degradingly about other people. A Christian should never do these things. Gossip and backbiting are just as much of a sin as rape and murder. We tend to forget this fact. Paul says not to give any occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully. In Ephesians 4:29 he states this thought even better.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
I have a strong desire to live by this verse. I never want to say anything harmful or hurting to someone. I desire that my speech ministers grace to the one hearing it. Now I admit, I am not doing great at this, but I keep growing. This is a very powerful scripture and one we should all pay careful attention to. If the church could just accomplish this, so many more would come to us and desire Christ in their life. The gossip and backbiting would stop within the church and all would be uplifted by one another. This may sound Utopian, but I think it is possible.
The last line talks of those who do not speak with this grace but are always backbiting, gossiping, arguing and complaining. He says they have turned aside to Satan. These are powerful words and present quite a condemnation to those who just can’t seem to say the right thing. They are full of put downs, jabs and satirical remarks. They think it’s funny to poke fun at people. You may think it’s funny to and be drawn in to the conversation. Please don’t let that happen! Serve God with your tongue as much as with any member of your body. You will find that tour not only being a blessing to others, but to yourself as well.