Today we are reading from 1 Timothy 5: 1-8:
Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, 2 to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.
3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. 5 The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; 6 but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Ever been really frustrated by someone? Ever wanted to raise your voice in frustration towards them? I know that have, and I know that I have done it. I am not proud of either the emotion or of the action. But I’ve been there and I imagine that we all have.
As I read today’s reading, the word that came to my mind was that of kindness. Do not speak harshly to an older man. Treat widows with respect and gentleness. These older folk, they are to be honored and cared for. They are due respect.
That was very out of step in much of the world that Paul and Timothy lived in. Honestly, it is out of step with much of the world that we live in today. Kindness always seems out of touch and and not very efficient action. Kindness, considering the weaknesses and frailty of others, that takes time. That takes pausing, considering, reflecting, looking, praying.
It’s hard to do that and keep on pace and on schedule. Looking out for yourself, that’s a much better use of your time, right? Or at least that is the way that seems or feels.
But Paul gives these teachings to the church. Treat others with kindness. Look towards the widows. Take care of your family! Seriously, if there is a need that is in your family, help with it. And then, look to help with others’ needs.
Kindness. Respect. Care. These things are often how the Gospel is lived out. Take care of those all around you in need. Treat others with respect and kindness. That’s Paul’s word to Timothy.
And a good word for us today.
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