It’s lovely to have you join us for the daily podcast from STC Sheffield. Our Bible reading today is 1 Timothy 5 vs9-16, and we’ll be focusing on verse 10, which I will read in just a moment.
Firstly, having shared a little of my family background with you yesterday, I have to admit that these verses did make me giggle!
My mother was obviously a young widow, and 2 years after my father’s death she re-married and had 2 more children.
What makes me laugh is the thought that my mother’s second marriage saved her from becoming a lazy, gossiping, busybody, who, driven by her sensual desires, decided to turn away from her faith. I would describe my mother as quite ‘proper,’ so this image of her being rescued from a state of moral degradation, does rather bring a smile to my face!
However, rather than focusing on the temptations that can face those who find themselves unexpectedly single, I would instead like us to look at the description Paul gives of a widow who is over 60 and going to be registered to receive support from the church.
In verse 10, Paul says these women should have “a beautiful testimony of raising their families, practicing hospitality, encouraging other believers, comforting troubled ones, and have a reputation for doing good works.”
I would like to suggest that this is something that each one of us; whether we are male or female, young or old, married, single, divorced or widowed should all attain to.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have these words spoken as a testimony of each of us and how we live out our Christian faith?
Let’s look at these qualities in more detail……..
When Paul writes about raising a family, the specific Greek word that he uses can actually be translated as “caring for children physically and spiritually,” and the word includes bringing up children who are not biologically our own.
So, if you are a parent or a grandparent, how are you caring for the spiritual development of children in your family? But if you are not a parent, how can you also play your part in raising children spiritually?
Maybe you need to speak to Jack about serving in Kids Church? At STC, we have approximately 50 children aged 3 and under in church on a Sunday. Could you help in crèche, or be part of our brand new 2s group team?
There are so many ways to invest in the spiritual life of the children at our church.
The next attribute is “practising hospitality.”
Inviting non-Christians into your home and sharing food with them is a very practical way of actively being involved in the mission of the church. The early churches that Paul and Timothy had planted were centred upon homes and they experienced rapid growth and amazing numbers of people coming to faith.
How can you use your home more regularly to extend hospitality to both Christians and those who don’t yet know Jesus?
How can your house become a place of witness and evangelism?
Thirdly Paul references “encouraging other believers.” In some translations it says “washing the feet of God’s people”. Combined with the next quality of comforting those in trouble, we see that followers of Jesus should be identified by a life of humble, unselfish service, making themselves available to help those in need both within the church and the wider community.
If you want to reflect some more about what it means to live a life that is hallmarked by serving others, listen again to Tom’s podcast from Wednesday 4th March where he unpacks the importance that Paul gives to this quality in the lives of those who follow Christ.
Finally, we are to have a reputation for doing good works.
Over the next few months, all the cluster communities at STC will be getting involved in impact projects. These are events, activities, or opportunities to bless and serve a particular area or group of people, which have a Kingdom impact as we invite non-Christians to get involved too.
So far we have seen people have meals for Thanksgiving, organise litter picks, create gift boxes for parents with children who have additional needs, bake 20 or more boxes of cake for neighbours and work colleagues, and run carol services in community centres. And there are more innovative impact projects in the pipeline.
If you have an idea for an impact project – a good work in your local area or a good way to bless people you know – tell your cluster leader, and share your ideas with others in your cell group. Pray about how you can work together to make this happen, and pray for those who do not yet know Jesus, who you are going to invite along to join you.
Having a reputation for being intentional when it comes to impacting our friends, neighbours, colleagues and local communities through good works and by being good news people would be absolutely fantastic.
As we come to the end of today’s podcast, let’s pray through the words of verse 10, and ask God to show us which quality or attribute he would like us to develop or grow over the next few weeks and months.
Lord Jesus, we want the testimony of our lives to be that we care for children’s spiritual development, we practice hospitality, encourage other believers, comfort those who are troubled, and have a reputation for doing good works. Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may be equipped and enabled to do this more and more. Amen.
BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 5:9-16
No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.