…behold, your son!

The hardest thing I have ever had to do as a Pastor, maybe even as a person, was be present in an ICU room when, individually, members of a family came in to say goodbye to a lady who was only alive because she was connected to a ventilator.

Her sister came.

Her friend came.

Her partner came.

Then her children came.

Thinking of this now still brings tears to my eyes. What do you say to a child saying goodbye to their Mum? Preaching the Good News to the assembled church multiple times each week is a huge privilege. Being there for moments like that is perhaps the most profound privilege we can have as ministers of the Gospel. 

Today’s last word is found in John 19.26,

“Woman, behold, your son!”

Making provisions for those we love for a time when we won’t be around may seem morbid, but it is maybe the most loving and practical thing we can do. Even on the cross, in the throws of agony, Jesus cared for and provided for others. He was, and is, so others-focused that some simply cannot believe it.

For those of us that do, we see His heart on display; others.

Even in His dying moments, He wanted to make sure that those He loved were going to be taken care of.

Brothers, sisters, please don’t wait until it is too late. Take actions today to care for and provide for those you love so that when a day begins without you, they will be ok. They will have enough to deal with, enough to organise, enough to do, enough to grieve over, enough to think about.

Please follow His example and do all you can today to provide for their tomorrows.

1 Timothy 5.3-16 – Widows

Having instructed Timothy on how to interact with the different members of the church family, Paul continues and talks about one group in particular, widows

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

The main point seems to be that the family takes care of the family. If the family of a widow can care for them, they should (v.4). This is backed up when Paul writes in v.8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The church is to step in, then, when there is no immediate family to provide care (v.9-10). Rather than take this as meaning that the church cares for no ladies under sixty, the idea is that the family takes care of the family first, the church should always be ready to help (Philippians 2.3-4, 1 Corinthians 12.26), but the full-time care of widows is to be taken on by the church only when no family remain (Let a widow be enrolled)

This may sound harsh, but Paul finishes with a reason, 

16 If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them.

Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

The church, and all of us, should be seeking to help those who truly need it. It can be hard to discern who really needs help and who is looking for a handout, so we must rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 6.13) and godly counsel from those around us.

The main point here though for us today has to be that we need to be ready to help whoever, whenever, however they need it.

God’s church is always there to help the needy and help the helpers but as people, are we?