Day 2 – Work to provide for your family. 1 Timothy 5:1-8
God made man to work. That assumption is drawn from the creation account found in the first two chapters of Genesis. As God revealed his purposes for man, he also revealed multiple reasons as to why it is beneficial for a man to work (please note the use of man here is all gender inclusive, male and female are made to work). The context of 1 Timothy 5:1-8 is one of instruction for how a person who can no longer take care of themselves is to be provided for by family. In the midst of that instruction, there is a timeless principle that applies to all of life. That principle is found in verse 8 and is this, “One is to work in order to provide for his family.”
It has been my privilege to be associated with friends and neighbors who have a strong work ethic. The 40-hour work week has never been a standard in the circles where I have associated. My raising was in the farm sector and my early vocations included work in the Oil and Gas industries. Forty-hour work weeks were considered to be a joke. Not all was good with this attitude because family time and the need for rest were often overlooked. However, a strong work ethic is often referred to as a Judeo-Christian work ethic. That title indicates an expectation that those who believe in Jesus, or practice Judaism, have a testimony of a strong work ethic. According to 1 Tim. 5:8, one reason for a strong work ethic is to provide for your family. Notice the selflessness of work. It is not for self alone that a believer is to work but to provide for their families or others with whom they have a close relationship.
The application of this Scripture has sometimes been limited to immediate family. However, in context, this principle applies to close friends and fellow church members. It has been a great privilege to serve in churches where the members are generous to share with one another in need. But notice the first responsibility of the family. Widows in the first century had no means of financial support. Most work opportunities that provided financial means were filled by men. The older generation did not rely on a 401K or social security. They relied upon their children or other family members to take care of the need. As a church family, a responsibility to take care of widows belonging to their fellowship developed. But the first responsibility to take care of that need was blood kin. The widow’s children, or grandchildren were to see to that need. If that provision was not available, the church was then to offer support. That is a biblical model of a social safety net.
The key principle in this passage regarding work is that work is necessary in order to have something to use to provide for your family. Think about that for just a minute. Could it be at the judgment seat of Christ, that He will hand out jewels for your crown based on how well you worked to provide for your family? We were made to work.