The Family of God

A few evenings ago a few of us were discussing the merits of Disney and Disney Pixar films – Mulan, Lion King, Brother Bear …. these were among our favourites. In my opinion, one of the best animated films of all time is “Toy Story”. If you’ve not seen it … where have you been? Anyway, the main character is Woody (a toy cowboy) who is loved and adored by his owner “Andy”. This is until the new toy in the room appears: “Buzz Lightyear” (a toy astronaut). The comedy is that Buzz thinks he is an actual astronaut – that is until Woody puts him right with the famous line:

“You’re not a space ranger! You’re an action figure—a child’s plaything”

The tragedy, of course, is that Woody was right. Realising his real identity Buzz hangs his little plastic disillusioned head and confesses:

“I’m just a stupid, little, insignificant toy.”

Later on in the film, the two characters have joined forces and Woody has to remind Buzz that Andy loves him, even has a mere plaything. As Buzz lifts his foot, he sees black permanent ink drawn on the sole: “Andy”. Andy’s toy.

As we approach the end of 1 Timothy Paul is now wanting to remind us that we are part of a family. We have, if you like, “Jesus” written on our hearts and we each belong to Him. Not only that, but we belong to each other. If you’ve missed my previous posts through 1 Timothy you can catch up here

In 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Paul exhorts us, as a Church, to love one another like we are a family. Jesus said that the world would realise that we are His disciples if we love one another (John 13:35).

Then, in 1 Timothy 5:3-16, Paul exhorts us, as a Church, to care for those who have no family. Here he refers to a different group of people in the church – namely widows. James said the same thing:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction

James 1:27

This should prompt us to ask some difficult questions about how we care for those who cannot care for themselves. This is the flow of the text by the way. We’re not talking about women who have lost husbands and have the ability to financially care for themselves. I once heard of a wealthy woman who had lost her husband, went on two or three cruises a year and approached her pastor for financial support based on this verse. Paul is clearly talking about those who cannot look after themselves and women who don’t have any relatives who can care for them. A widow is a woman who cannot look after themselves (v3), who don’t have relatives to look after them (v4), who trusts in God (v5) and in return should devote themselves to prayer (v5). Remember Anna in Luke 2? She was a widow like this.

Let’s jump to some application with some questions:

  1. Can you name any specific prayer needs for at least one member of our church? If not, what will you do to change this?
  2. Do you know any people in our church who cannot look after themselves and might be secretly struggling? Again, if not, what will you do to change this?

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