Friday, February 21, 2014

Family devotions - Worse Than An Unbeliever? - 1 Timothy 5:8

1 Timothy 5:8             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.

Money can be a terribly divisive thing. In my many years as a pastor, I've sadly seen families falling out over wills, estates, property, and heirlooms. I’ve seen an old man give up his home because his stepchildren forced him out. I've known of an old lady being duped of all of her finances by a greedy nephew. I've seen divorces destroy partners because of money. And I’ve also known of families forcing other relatives to give up their rights of inheritance because of greed.

These types of wickedness (because that’s what these are) always astound me. I grew up in poverty, so money and possessions don’t mean a lot to me. I’m also just a pilgrim who is travelling through this world, so earthly objects don’t possess me. When it’s my turn to go, my loved ones will have what I presently own. I won’t be needing them any longer. And even if I could, I won’t be wanting to take them with me either.

Paul’s admonition to Timothy which we can read in today’s passage (1 Timothy 5:1-15) is about caring for our loved ones and relatives. Providing for our families is of prime importance; if we neglect to do this then, according to Paul, we have denied the faith and are worse than unbelievers. That’s a harsh and severe judgment. However, it makes me wonder if those who duped loved ones or greedily pressed others to give up their rights will ever get to Heaven. It seems to me that Jesus also covered this with His ‘camel through the eye of a needle’ story.

So what’s the lesson for today? Simply this: Practice our faith by providing for our families. Sounds like good advice to me.

Questions for personal reflection

Does greed ever get the better of me? If so, how does it affect my faith and family relationships?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, help us to be better Christians by providing for our loved ones. Keep us from being greedy and enable us to support our families when they are in need. Be with us and bless us this day. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. If you would like to ask a question or make a comment about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s drawing is one of John’s latest in a new art series called ‘Art Gecko.’ This one is called ‘Geckosville.’ If you would like to view a large image, please click on the following link:

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