Wednesday, 24 January 2018
And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13
Paul’s words here are still speaking of younger widows. He had just noted that by marrying again, after having committed themselves to Christ, they are “having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.” Now he adds to that with, “And besides, they learn to be idle.” If they were receiving their support from the church, it is possible that they would find it easier to simply receive the care of the church and to not go beyond that as far as productivity is concerned. Anyone who doubts this would be the case has never studied the effects of welfare, government housing, and food stamps. Such things, like care directly from the church, become inducements to laziness. Paul is not saying that this will always be the case, but it is the standard human condition, and it is to be avoided.
He then says what the effect of being idle will be with the words, “wandering about from house to house.” With nothing productive to do, an idle person will inevitably go looking for someone else who can fill their time. They will interrupt families, show up at any given time (even when the wife may be out, thus possibly bringing about inappropriate relations with the man inside), and carrying along whatever words will fill the hearers’ mind with their own thoughts. In the last case, Paul explains that such are “not only idle but also gossips and busybodies.”
This is the natural state of people with too much time on their hands. They have nothing productive to do, and so they put their noses into the affairs of others. They then pass these things on, stirring up the nest of hornets in the neighborhood. Just because a family has a fight, it doesn’t mean they are at the end of their marriage, but when that fight is broadcast around the neighborhood, it suddenly becomes an issue which is no longer tucked away and gone. Rather, it can explode into all kinds of other unnecessary and untrue accusations. And this is all because the idle widows keep “saying things which they ought not.”
The entire set of problems which Paul has noted stems from putting someone too young onto the roles of the church. As noted, this is no different than putting someone too young, and otherwise able, onto the roles of government welfare, food stamps, and public housing. One is deprived of their dignity by those who didn’t think through the consequences of handing out charity in an inappropriate manner. The intent may or may not have been good, but the end result invariably is one which is not good. People who are young enough to work and lead a normal life, and who are also healthy enough to do so, must be required to do so.
Life application: Not following the biblical model, as outlined by Paul here, has the highest probability of leading to disaster. Case in point: All such entitlement programs initiated by liberals in governments around the world. Their ungodly stand leads to unproductive people who are trained to be shiftless busybodies who only cause more harm to the society at large. The church should not be a participant in this unholy crusade, and yet it is the leader in it in many cases.
Lord God, we pray that the world will see the harm that government programs cause when they are applied inappropriately. Giving money to people who are fully capable of working for themselves causes them to be idle, busybodies, gossips, and unproductive members of society. Such programs deprive them of the honor and dignity of being productive. And our churches often take the lead in this unholy trek. Help us to not be a participant in such things, but to actively work for the dignity of all people by having them earn their own daily bread. Amen.