Saturday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:1-25 (NKJV)
5:1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity.
3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.
16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.
22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.
23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.
As God, through St. Paul, instructs Timothy in how to conduct his God-given ministry in a God-pleasing way, He is giving instructions to all pastors as well. Everything mentioned back then still applies to Christians and the Church today: provide for oneself when possible; support the members of your own family who are truly in need; offer support to needy Church members; give support to those who, by God’s grace, have devoted themselves to serving the saints.
As the other meditations this week have highlighted how having a faithful pastor is something for which to be thankful, in this reading from 1 Timothy God points out specifically that the saints of a congregation are to honor and financially support the spiritual fathers who are faithfully overseeing them. Such support is nothing less than supporting Christ’s very ministry among them—and God is the One seeing to it.
As we confess in the Book of Concord (on this very text of Timothy): “Christians are under obligation in the sight of God to esteem them [their pastors]…and provide for them. For that, God wishes to give you additional blessings and will not let you come to want” (Large Catechism, par. 161, Jacobs, pg. 413). Oh, how God graciously desires Christ’s fully merited forgiveness of sins, offered through His means of Word and Sacrament, to be faithfully delivered. By God’s grace, the pastors of our fellowship do this. Thanks be to God!
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, give to us the increase of faith, hope, and love, and that we may obtain what You promise, make us to love what You command; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.