In First Timothy, Paul talks about benevolence.
First, he makes it clear that a man is to provide for his own family. He is to work. (1 Tim 5:8)
And your first thought might be, like I confess mine was— “they” need to reform those welfare programs.
But hang on.
Paul is getting into the nitty-gritty, practical and explaining that work should be the primary means of provision for the family.
Paul also explains, there are appropriate times for the church to help with provision, but only when the family option has been exhausted. (See 1 Tim 5:3-16)
And here’s the thing—If the family and church would operate as intended, there would be less poverty, and there would be less need for government programs to address poverty.
But when the father is absent, and the church is not active, government can often become a god to many.
And we have seen this happen in our country. And we know it’s a problem.
Instead of turning to wise fathers, and the church for help and hope, many now depend on the government. And that government has become the go-to source for help, hope and wisdom for many.
My temptation here is to shake my head and point my finger. I’m ready to blame a particular political party.
But, perhaps, I need to first ask myself what God is showing me about me, instead of immediately thinking how others need to apply what I’ve read. 😳
Let’s train ourselves to stop and ask the Lord to examine our own hearts first.
As we read this passage, let’s ask ourselves if we have possibly contributed to this “government is god” mentality?
If I’m married, do I support my husband in his efforts to provide for our family? I should do this even if I work outside of the home.
Do I encourage him or just complain?
Am I careful in my spending so as to be a good steward of the resources I have?
Do I look to government to do things I should be doing? Like loving my neighbors?
Am I serving in ministries that care for others?
Are we tithing to our local church so they have funds to take care of others as God intends?
Do I allow the government to teach my kids more than I do? Even if our kids are in a public school we should still take an active role in checking on what they are being taught. And just because they may be in a private church school, our responsibility to teach them the ways of God is not removed.
It’s so easy, it’s our flesh nature, to read God’s Word and immediately start thinking about others and how “they” need to do things differently. It’s not, that this is never appropriate. The Word does help us discern fruit in the lives of others.
But lets be sure, we read the Word, with teachable hearts ready to apply what the Lord is telling us to our own lives first.
Let’s remember, anytime we point a finger at someone else there are four pointing back at us!