1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. NIV
I awoke this morning with this scripture on my mind, although the King James version is the one most familiar to me, and its strong words impacted me anew: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
My daughter and I spent several delightful hours together recently, and during the course of our conversation we discussed the sacrifices many people of God make for His work, and although I agree to the nobility of such a stance, I’m a strong advocate that the care of one’s family should be placed ahead of our work in the church. Balance. Always, in every area of our lives, balance is the key. Many years ago, I heard a pastor tell of a lady in their church who spent many hours praying at the church, but whose housekeeping was a disgrace, and who often did not prepare meals for her family as she should have. Not enough time, for she was at the church praying. Because I’m closely associated with ministers and their wives, I’ve sometimes heard them (usually as they have grown older) regret that they didn’t spend more time with their children as they were growing up.
I want to take a little turn here, and while I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, I consider these thoughts important. Not only do I believe mothers and fathers need to provide for their households, including time and attention, but I believe children, especially as they near adulthood, need to kick in and pull their own weight in their homes. It troubles me when able-bodied teenagers seem to expect to be attended to, expect possessions to be placed in their hands–cars, phones, debit cards, computers, Ipads, fine clothes, yet offer little in return. A hard-working dad with a healthy, godly son in residence struggles to find an extra few dollars to have the lawn mowed or the weeds pulled or the garage cleaned? An unwell mom struggles with a mop while the beautiful teenager lounges about and preens and plans for the next youth event?
Paul looked askance at such, and although I suspect he was addressing his remarks to mothers and fathers, I believe it well within the mark to believe that young people should contribute to the success of their homes, including being involved in hard work that will ease somewhat the enormous obligations that are heaped on their parents. Having said that I want to acknowledge what a beautiful sight are teenagers–and there are many–who have developed a strong work ethic, and who make their parents and other relatives proud. Be assured I am not advocating that the joys and freedoms of teenagers be denied by their being required to take on entirely too many tasks or adult roles, for all-too-soon, it seems, the full weight of adulthood will descend soundly on their young heads. Rather, it is my thinking that by observing Paul’s wise words to Timothy, our godly young people will more easily move into the ranks of mature, adult Christians who become loyal and faithful wives and husbands, and caring successful parents.