Monday, 22 January 2018
But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 1 Timothy 5:11
Verses 9 & 10 gave the requirements for allowing a woman onto the rolls of widows in a church. When they met the requirements, they would be allowed to receive care from the church. However, he now notes an exception which he will continue to explain through verse 16. Instead of the widow who is to be accepted for care, he says, “But refuse the younger widows.” Paul doesn’t deny that they are widows, but he sets a distinction between these (younger), and those qualified by age (over sixty). Younger widows are not to be included because “when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry.”
Here he uses a word translated as “have begun to grow wanton,” which signifies the feeling of impulses of sexual desire. It is a word unique to the New Testament, not being found in classical literature. What Paul is saying is that the natural desires of a younger woman may get aroused once again, and she would begin to long for companionship in the form of a husband. In doing this, her obligation to the church which had been supporting her, will falter. It is expected that if a woman were to receive her sustenance from the church, that she would be faithful to that same church. Her duty would be as if to a new husband, Christ. But in having her heart strings pulled towards a new man, that allegiance would become distorted or even completely neglected.
It is Paul’s intention here to ensure that no arbitrary commitment to serving the Lord be exhibited. Instead, the widow is to be an example to other women of a faithful devotion to Christ. He in no way is speaking against the remarriage of widows, and in fact, he will argue for exactly that in the verses to come.
Life application: When one makes a commitment to Christ, be it as a missionary, a pastor, a musician, or whatever else, they take on a new perception in the eyes of others. To be in such a position, and to fail in the commitment which has been made, can only bring discredit upon His glorious name. Let each of us remember our duty to the Lord first, foremost, and always.
Heavenly Father, for those who have made an open commitment to serving Christ Jesus, give them wisdom to do so with unfailing attention. Whether it is a commitment to serve as a missionary, a minister, a musician, or in any other such capacity, help them to always remember their responsibility to the name they bear. Be an ever present reminder to them of their first calling. To Your glory we pray. Amen.