1 Timothy 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
This was before the days of Social Security or “safety nets” of any kind. The Church was God’s idea for taking care of people when they couldn’t take care of themselves. When we foist it all off on government we do everyone a disservice. Back then lifestyles were much simpler than they are today, but that should serve simply as a reminder of how little we actually need. Our expectations have inflated even more than the cost of living! That said, the principle here is one that seems very little understood in the Church, much less in general society, today. The first social unit God created was the family, starting with the husband and wife. Today even that is under severe attack, and society as a whole has suffered greatly. Reading this we would tend to think Paul was guilty of hyperbole, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Failure to take care of your own family means you have placed yourself ahead of God, and that is indeed “denying the faith.” God provides abundantly, but most often He uses people in the process. If we decline to be channels of that provision, chances are good we will fail to experience it in our own lives.
This of course applies to me. My parents both passed before they reached very advanced age, but I have other family members who are in less than ideal circumstances. The situation is greatly complicated by my living on the opposite side of the globe from them! Even so, I cannot write them out of my life, so to speak, but am responsible to do whatever I can, starting with prayer. I wouldn’t even know of their situation if it weren’t for the Internet, but God knows their situation and He knows mine, and I need to be fully available and obedient. My own children are very concerned for my wife and me in our “declining years.” Thankfully, Japanese health insurance, and health care in general, is excellent, and adding together my Japanese pension with the little American Social Security I get, we could survive even without additional income. That said, I still teach and perform weddings, and look likely to be able to continue to do so for quite a while to come. However, this isn’t just about me and my family. As a pastor I am involved in many families, and we are hoping to open an assisted living facility. That would be an opportunity to show the world what the Family of God looks like, and I trust He is going to bring it to pass.
Father, You know all the family care issues that confront me, with both blood kin and the church family. Help me receive and act on Your wisdom so that Your will may be done in each situation, not only for the good of those involved but also as a testimony to all who are watching what is going on, leading them to repentance and faith for their salvation as well, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!