Over the last couple of days we’ve had the opportunity to look in on a letter written by Paul to a young pastor named Timothy. Chapter 5 will reveal quite a few things about Timothy, like the fact that he had a stomach issue (v. 23). Many scholars believe Timothy’s stomach problems were in relation to the monumental task of leading the church in Ephesus.
You have to remember, at this point Timothy is only 30 years old and he’s leading a church that not only Paul has led, but also experienced one of the greatest revivals in church history. This is a tall order for even the most seasoned pastor, let alone a wet-behind-the-ears pastor like Timothy.
As we will read, Paul wanted to continue to teach Timothy how to lead as a pastor to the people. While much of Chapter 4 and come of Chapter 5 is of personal concern to Timothy, we also find Paul wanting Timothy to pay special attention to certain groups within the congregation. The prime example Paul uses is the treatment of widows and elders in the church. Later in the Chapter Paul also communicates some instructions concerning slaves who were believers.
Widow Benevolence Application
Like many churches, we offer Benevolence to many different people, both inside and outside the church. The only thing we require in return is for the person to fill out an application giving the church relevant information to make a healthy/informed decision on what type of benevolence is most important. Sometimes our benevolence isn’t in the form of finances, but instead comes in the form of coaching or helping.
I’m sure Timothy was grateful for the wisdom Paul provided concerning who and how to serve in a widow ministry. He basically provides Timothy with a “Widow Benevolence Application:”
Please answer Yes or No to the following questions:
- Are you over the age of 60?
- Where you faithful to her husband when he was alive?
- Are you well respected by everyone because of the good you have done
- Have you brought up your children well?
- Have you been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly?
- Have you helped those who are in trouble?
- Have you always been ready to do good?
If you have answered Yes to all of the above questions, congratulations, you qualify for Widow Benevolence.
Now Paul will tackle the seedy younger widows who seem to only stir up trouble and get lazy because they’re on the Widow Benevolence List. I kind of laughed when I read this section. Basically Paul says these younger widows are…
- Talk about things they shouldn’t talk about
You’re potentially going to this I’m crazy, but think about 1 Timothy 5 in reference to the Golden Girls. Now, hold on with me… For those of you born after 1980, the Golden Girls was an iconic T.V. show centered on four mature woman living in Miami experiencing the highs and lows of their golden years. The show ran from 1985-1993 and was famous for the theme song, which also summed up the show, “Thank You for Being A Friend.” (cue the singing)
When you look past the surface you’ll see what I mean. For many of the “girls,” they were either widowed or family of a widow. Dorthy was the responsible daughter who was still taking care of her aging mother Sophia. Then there was the quirky roommate Rose who could be referred to as the Widow maker.
I can’t help but think of 1 Timothy 5:11 in reference to this scene from 1989…
“The Golden Girls: High Anxiety (#4.20)” (1989)
Blanche Devereaux: [describing her temptations after her husband George died] There was a man. He asked me to sleep with him. I said, *No*. But I knew something greater than my will-power was necessary for me to resist him, so I called my sister.
Rose Nylund: Did she help talk you through it?
Blanche Devereaux: Oh, better than that. She drove straight over, she took him by the throat, she said if he ever tried that again she would shoot him through the head.
Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak: Just because he made a pass at you?
Blanche Devereaux: Oh, did I forget to mention that the man was my sister’s husband?
…and the bookend verse of that section? Verse 15 For I am afraid that some of them have already gone astray and now follow Satan.