Table of Contents
Providing for the Family
Paul wrote, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Here, Paul means that financial security of some kind should be given to a family by the husband, so that his death would not bring financial difficulty to those who survive him.
In fact, Paul includes more than widows in this family of responsibility; all dependent relatives should be provided for by those most closely related to them. This practice needs the full approval of the church, for all believers may one day be dependent upon others.
God stated in the fifth commandment: “honor your parents” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). True religion honors and respects ordinary family duties. To claim to be a Christian, yet ignore the duties due to one’s parents is a sad contradiction. A lack of faithfulness in one’s religion is shown. Jesus gave a model for every Christian when He planned for His mother’s care at the time of His crucifixion (John 19:25–27).
The apostle Peter taught, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). The apostle, here, speaks of the duties of husbands and wives to each other in a loving and unselfish manner. A Christian wife is to respect her husband as the head of the home, but the husband should never take advantage of his wife, nor should he make unreasonable demands upon her (1 Corinthians 7:2–5).
Jesus taught, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). These words express the deepest physical and spiritual unity of a husband and wife. These words do not suggest abandonment of duty and respect toward the spouses’ fathers and mothers, but refer mainly to the fact that a man’s wife is to be first in his care and that his first duty is towards her. His love for her is to surpass, though certainly not to replace, love for his parents.
Beside meeting the physical needs of children, the apostle Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Love is shown both in care and discipline (Revelation 3:19). Instruction encourages a child when he is in the right and admonishes him when he is in the wrong.
Some educators teach that a child should be left to form his own religious ideas and convictions, since it is not right to impose them upon him when he is not ready to think for himself. This argument is faulty for it is not possible for a child to develop his character without moral instruction. If parents don’t teach their children the path of good, someone else will instruct them the path of evil.
Finally, Solomon the wise wrote, “Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind” (Proverbs 11:29). A parent may cause trouble indirectly by mismanagement of his family affairs. In that event, he and his household will suffer and be in need. Or he may cause trouble directly by his selfishness and uncaring lifestyle. Such an attitude fails to win the respect, gratitude and cooperation of his family.
In His service,