Scripture reading for October 20th: 1st Timothy 5:1-25
Pastoral ministry involves working with people. A young pastor has to be taught how to properly work with all the different age groups in the church as well as the maturity levels of the believers. When a preacher is young, older people have a tendency to look down on them. Proper manners were needed for order and godliness.
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1st Timothy 5:1-2) A rebuke is a correction of behavior given verbally. Paul taught Timothy to treat the older men as if they were his father. He still was required to correct them, but the manner was important to unity. Younger men were to be treated as brothers, and this respect would bring about cooperative behavior. The same applied to the women with older ones being treated like a mother and younger like sisters. There must be absolute sexual purity, however. Paul understood the temptations that would come naturally to a young man and young women interacting together! This is needed today as well!
Widows were also to be cared for properly. The church has a responsibility to help these women, especially if they have been godly women and are left alone through the death of a husband. Family members were to be taught to take care of their widows in their own immediate family if possible. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1st Timothy 5:8, 16) Widows over sixty who had been faithful to their husbands and known for good deeds were to be cared for.
Elders who directed the affairs of the church were also to be financially compensated. Paul taught Timothy that he could expect to be compensated for preaching and teaching God’s word. (1st Timothy 5:17-18) But elders must also be held accountable for their actions. If they needed to be corrected, accusations must be brought by two or three witnesses. If true, the elder was to be rebuked publicly so all would be warned. (1st Timothy 5:19-20) Good pastors would keep these instructions without partiality! What a privilege to lead God’s people!