Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Fruitful Faith and Faithful Functions
1 Timothy 5:1-10
v1 Do not speak harshly to an older man...
"Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”
-The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The elderly generation is the custodian of fruitful faith through their faith journeys and life experiences. The elderly have to be treated with what they have accumulated through their life experiences and not by what they do not have at present. They were considered as responsible faith reflective spaces among the members of the early church. This gestured the faithful functions of the church during those times.
Here the apostle directs Timothy how to minister to people elder to him. He is to reprove elders with respect. Also he has to honor the widows in the faith community. Paul's emphasis is for Timothy to treat the members of the house churches as his closest family members. This advice may reflect the OT admonition to honor the aged in Lev.19:32. An elder in age or office must be treated as a father. Respect must be given to the dignity of their age and place. Timothy himself, though an evangelist, must treat them as fathers, for this would be the likeliest way to work with them and to win them. The younger must be rebuked as brethren, with love and tenderness; as being willing to make the best of them. The elder women must be reproved, when there is occasion, as mothers. The younger women must be reproved, but reproved as sisters, with all purity.
Children can never sufficiently compensate their parents for the care they have taken of them, and the pains they have taken with them; but they must endeavor to do it. It is the indispensable duty of children, if their parents be in necessity, and they in ability to relieve them, to do it to the utmost of their power, for this is good and acceptable before God. The Pharisees taught that a gift to the altar was more acceptable to God than relieving a poor parent (Matt. 15:5) . But here we are told that if any men or women do not maintain their own poor relations who belong to them, they do in effect deny the faith; for the design of Christ was to confirm the law of Moses, and particularly the law of the fifth commandment, which is, Honour thy father and mother. One reason why people of means should maintain their poor relatives and not burden the church with them is that the church may care for those who are really widows. Paul's reprovement guides Timothy to honor the fruitful faith of the elders and widows in the church. This resisted the social and cultural norms of that time and even our time which seeks to conveniently overlook the aged in the society.
Lord, Help us to bear fruits of faith in our daily life matters. And enable us to express the functions of our faith as our witness to the Lord. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Is our faith fruitful in the eyes of the lord?
Jibin Mathew Joy, Ayroor Carmel MTC, Pathanamthitta, Kerala
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church