Marriage and Family

If any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God– 1 Timothy 5:4

How many nursing homes would be out of business if this command was followed more consistently by Christians? While there are certain situations that may require special care that only a medical facility can provide, there are a host of people who simply sit neglected by their own children and descendants.

Paul tells Timothy, in no uncertain terms, that it is the responsibility of the children, or other descendants, of a widow to care for her needs themselves. It is not acceptable to throw one’s parents, or grandparents, or great aunts and uncles, upon any other system or government, or even church, to fulfill what is our obligation.

Part of honoring our parents, Paul is clearly intimating, is caring for their personal and physical and financial needs as they grow older and weaker. There is no excuse for dereliction of this duty.

The fact that Paul commands us to learn to show this piety at home reveals the fact that it does not agree with our natural inclination, our inborn selfishness. Yet, the fact that it can be learned also reveals the unflinching responsibility that is ours.

You are not medically inclined? Learn to show piety and love at home. You are not personally wealthy? Learn to show piety anyway. You will have to sacrifice your own comforts and interests to care for this loved one? Learn to show piety at home.