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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith . . ."—1 Timothy 5:8 (NLT)
“Talk is cheap!” We say it when someone makes lofty promises, like “I’ll never do that again,” or “I will be there on time,” or “I will lower your taxes.” It’s usually said to someone who is known for not being true to his or her word.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives Timothy some instructions on how to interact with, care for, and support various groups within the church. He explains how we should treat and support widows and how we should address older men and women—as well as younger men and women. And then, he makes this bold statement: “But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith.”
There are a lot of truly noble, valorous, and compassionate causes we can take up and people we can help; people we SHOULD help, that we’re instructed by the Lord to help . . . but what does it say about us if we’re taking care of widows but forsaking our parents, rejecting our siblings, or neglecting our spouse and children? This is what it says about us: “Such people are worse than unbelievers” (1 Timothy 5:8 NLT).
This warning was necessary as the circles of believers continued to widen during the early days of the church, and it’s still relevant for us today. Then, just like now, people tried to convince themselves that the hopes and promises of Christianity could be had simply by calling themselves a Christian . . . completely devoid of real devotion to Christ, without any practice of actual discipleship and self-denial, separate from any life change or heart transformation. As we established earlier, talk is cheap!
You see, for Paul, faith was not just a far-off intellectual understanding but a complete way of life. It permeated everything he did, said, thought, and understood. And thus, faith that is factually stated but practically denied is no faith at all. When we neglect those closest to us—people who the Lord bonded us to in name, blood, and by covenant vows—we are denying the faith, rejecting the heart of God, and are worse than pagans.
Why am I sharing this with you? I want to implore you, friends, to take care of your own! Be present, invest in them, show mercy, grace, compassion, humility, selflessness, and true, genuine care. Consider the example of Jesus on the cross. Just before dying, He confirmed His mother would be in good hands. Love your family well. Otherwise, you may want to ask yourself what kind of faith you subscribe to.
DIG: Read 1 Timothy 5 and Galatians 5.
DISCOVER: How is your relationship with your immediate family? Are you loving them well? Are you honoring them and putting their needs above your own? Are you devoting enough attention and care to them?
DISPLAY: Connect with your family today. Send an encouraging text, call them up and see how you can serve them this week, or if possible, visit them and bring by their favorite food and a game! Allow your faith to express itself in love!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.