What the Bible says about Poverty: 1 Timothy 5:16

Hello everyone! Today, we’re going to seek wisdom from Chapter 5 in Timothy, specifically verse 16.

If a believing woman has widows in her family, she should help them, and the church should not be burdened, so that it can help those who are genuinely widows. 1 Timothy 5:16

We often spend time talking and debating about what the government is doing in taking care of the poor. We may debate over what type of programs they are funding, what policies they are trying to pass, which programs are getting budget cuts, the list goes on! What if we spent time instead discussing our role in poverty alleviation?

As stated in the second half of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:39) — “Love your neighbor as yourself” — we are called to serve those closest to us, not to rely solely on outsiders. We each have the responsibility to care for family and friends directly connected to us before sending them to the Church or a social service agency. Paul is telling us, in this passage of Timothy, that Church assistance should be reserved for those with no family. This still rings true today.

Think about if or when you’ve been in a situation where you needed financial help. Who did you go to for assistance? Many of us have friends or family to ask and they will gladly help us out! However, many people in poverty, experience broken relationships; sometimes they don’t have any relationships to turn to.

First, we, as Christ-followers want to help people mend broken relationships to increase social support and have a safety net in place when they experience a crisis. Paul felt so strongly about this concept that he even states in 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Second, the Church should care for people who don’t have any relationships to draw on in crisis. If we, as individuals, fulfill our personal responsibility, the Church can use its resources for those who don’t have a relational safety net.

It’s easy to feel that we’ve done our part by paying taxes or donating to an organization serving the poor, but we can’t forget about our individual responsibility. Let’s get involved if someone we know is struggling. We may not have all the answers and we may need to draw on the larger resource of the Church or other social service agencies, but let’s continue to walk alongside those in our lives that we know are struggling.