Tidings for Tuesday

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. 1 Timothy 5:8

During a strike by the Canada Post letter carriers some years ago, the postal service made alternate arrangements for people who were social assistance recipients to receive their monthly cheques from a temporary office on Main Street. As a reporter, I took my tape recorder to that temporary office to talk to some of the people who were lined up for their cheques. Several people in wheelchairs and with other physical limitations were glad to talk to me about the inconvenience of having to get into such a line-up. But a good many other people refused to talk to me, keeping their faces averted to I could not see who they were. But I knew who they were: they were the good-for-nothings who were living off government handouts because they were too lazy to work for a living. They did not deserve the handout they were getting, and they knew it. These people probably did not appreciate how I described them in my report. But if I didn’t think much of them, neither does God, as our text makes clear.

The breadwinners in our homes are responsible for providing for the financial needs of the families. That is very basic. There are things that every family needs: food, clothing, shelter, and a reasonable level of comfort. Beyond that, there are things that families should have for the good of each member of the home, various creature comforts, entertainment, tools, provision for emergencies, and all that sort of thing. A family in which the breadwinners earn substantial income would – and should – have more than a family where income is more modest. But when the needs are met, the responsibility addressed in our text is discharged. At least, it is discharged in terms of financial provision. But there are other provisions that must also be met.

The provider for a family must also meet the family’s social needs. Because families live in communities, the family’s responsibility to the community must be met. Children, if there are any, need to be educated. Parents need to be informed and consulted in school matters. Parents must also be involved in their children’s lives, taking a keen interest in their activities, making sure the intrusions of electronic devices do not deprive the children of the exercise and social interactions that the children need.

More importantly, the home must be provided for spiritually. A Christian home ought always to be an oasis of blessing in a careless and uncaring world. And that blessing should be for the members in that home as well as for any outsiders who come into contact with it. The Bible must be read, prayer must be made, and the home must be as deeply involved as possible in the life of the local Assembly. The home where Christ is the centre will be a home well provided for spiritually.

Our text makes it clear that not providing for the needs of our homes is a very serious matter indeed! How are we doing with that? -Jim MacIntosh

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