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1 Timothy 5:8  (King James Version)
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<< 1 Timothy 5:7   1 Timothy 5:9 >>


1 Timothy 5:8

To fail to take care of your own as we have opportunity is denying Christianity. It is denying the Christian faith, and we are then worse off than the unconverted. This is a pretty strong statement. A person who meets the criterion of this verse has disavowed Christianity; he is walking away from his responsibility to take care of his own first.

We can also apply the principle in this verse to the church. Combining this verse with Galatians 6:9-10, it is abundantly clear that God thinks that, even in the best of times, the brethren have first priority, not the world. If there was ever a time for doing good to the brethren, the time is now. In its broader context, Galatians 6:1-10 has spiritual matters more directly in mind than filling physical needs. This does not deny that there are times to help out physically, but the chapter begins with, "If one sees a brother in a fault. . . ." This is the real foundation of his charge in verses 9 and 10, spiritual matters, and that is exactly where the church's problems lie.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part Four)



1 Timothy 5:8

A person who has properly obeyed his parents in childhood later expresses his honor for them in a deeper appreciation of the comforts and training they provided him as a child. This honor expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness, and kind deeds. Any parent, especially a widowed parent, should be repaid by his children for the care given them as they grew up. Even in His dying moments, while suffering an agonizing death, Jesus honored and loved His mother by making provision for John to care for her after His death (John 19:26-28). God our Father is well pleased with us when we obey this vital commandment (Colossians 3:20).

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment



1 Timothy 5:8

It is beyond question that Christians should be compassionate. We are to give to the poor and aid the needy (Matthew 19:21; Luke 14:13; Galatians 2:10; etc.). We are to lend a helping hand to those who have stumbled and bear the burdens of the weak (Acts 20:35; Galatians 6:2; James 1:27; etc.). It is sin to us if we know to do good and fail to do it (James 4:17; Proverbs 3:27-28). But how far does this go?

A certain tension exists in God's Word on this point. On the one hand, God indeed commands us to give, help, aid, comfort, and support others in their need. He even set up the third-tithe system to care for those truly in need. However, He is also a proponent of personal responsibility.

Where should charity end and personal responsibility begin?

Even in the land of self-reliance and rugged individualism, we live in a partial welfare state. Government and private handouts are common and relatively easy to get. Citizens can be propped up for long periods if they fit a certain category of need, such as being jobless, a single parent, handicapped, and the like. The nation provides "cushions" of all sorts to soften a person's landing when he falls. Other, more socialist nations are far ahead of the U.S. in this regard.

This has a short-term appeal, but it is regressive and spiritually dangerous over the long haul. Even though they feel a kind of shame for being on the dole, long-term welfare recipients develop an attitude of entitlement called the "welfare mentality." In time, they feel that they deserve help from others and become offended if they do not receive it. They also take offense if someone suggests that they should be looking for work or learning a new skill or weaning themselves off public/private assistance. Why should they? They are getting something for nothing!

The danger appears when this attitude begins to bleed over into a Christian's relationship with God. Sure, God's grace is freely given (Romans 3:24; 5:15), but does that mean He requires nothing of us in return? True Christianity is not "give your heart to the Lord, and you shall be saved!" True Christianity is "Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15)!

Jesus packs so much into these few words! This "gospel in a nutshell" expands to include conscious effort to change and grow in the grace, knowledge, and character of God every waking moment of our day. Christianity is not a lazy-person's religion. It is a God-centered way of living that demands our constant attention so that we can "put on the new man" (Ephesians 4:17-32; Colossians 3:1-17) and "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).

A welfare mentality—"the way of get"—is the antithesis of God's way of give, of outgoing concern, of esteeming others better than oneself. It can manifest itself in many forms of behavior: failure to recognize God-given blessings and opportunities to prosper, laziness, sponging off others, rarely helping or entertaining others, making excuses for one's financial state, expressing contempt for "menial" jobs when unemployed, having unrealistically high standards or expectations, etc. All these assume that we deserve something.

To put it bluntly, rather than others owing us something, the only thing we truly deserve is death (Romans 3:10-20, 23; 6:23)! If we are Christians, however, we have been forgiven and set on the right path toward God's Kingdom (Ephesians 2:1-10). To us, God gives the promise that we need not worry about our life, food, or clothing (Luke 12:22-34). God will take care of us! David says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread" (Psalm 37:25). Leave those worries behind! Receive with gladness and gratitude what God gives. Then we can concentrate our efforts on seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, and part of that is ridding ourselves of the despicable and Satanic notion that we deserve a free ride. Therefore, "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12)!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Welfare and Christianity



1 Timothy 5:8

We owe a duty to God and to the affairs of this life. We are to be diligent in our business in providing for ourselves and our families. God, at the very beginning of the Book (Genesis 1-3), when He put Adam and Eve in the Garden, says that they are to dress and keep it, meaning that they are to embellish it, to add to it, and to guard it from deterioration.

Part of our responsibility is to be diligent in doing our job for our employer. We are to be careful not to squander and waste what we have. We are to look ahead and plan to provide for future demands, taking into consideration that there will be emergencies like accidents, illness, death, natural disasters. We are to prepare for such things.

If we fail to do that, it is not showing faith that "God will provide," but rather presumption and irresponsibility in throwing all the responsibility on God while we ignore ours, failing to fulfill what God instructs us to do. There is much to be learned about God's Kingdom and getting prepared for it by carefully using our resources.

The danger lies in our human proclivity to tend toward extremes. The most common is following human nature's inclination to be overly concerned about the things of this life and devoting too much time and energy to it. Jesus points this out in Matthew 6:25, advising us to “take no anxious thought.”

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian and the World (Part Eight)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 Timothy 5:8:

Ezekiel 22:25-30
Matthew 6:19-20
2 Thessalonians 3:2

 

<< 1 Timothy 5:7   1 Timothy 5:9 >>



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