Beyond the Weekend

August 23 | Discerning When to Help

August 23, 2023


No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 1 Timothy 5:9-10

Read: 1 Timothy 5:3-10
Listen: 1 Timothy 5


Paul sent Timothy, a young pastor, to the new church at Ephesus to help bring order out of chaos.  Ephesus was a major city filled with many people with lots of needs. Timothy needs Paul’s help to discern which needs to meet—specifically, in this passage, the needs of widows. Paul gives three criteria particular to their culture and context. Do they have a family? What age are they? And how have they behaved?
The assumption is younger widows are to work or get remarried. Less likely to remarry, the older widows receive help dependent on having other family assistance or living a life known for good deeds.

There were simply too many widows for the church to help, so Paul established wise criteria to help those in direst need. He understood “need doesn’t necessitate a call to help.” Some widows could be supported in other ways. The same is true for us. There are far too many needs in our church, community, city, state and world for us to meet them all. It is crucial to have a wise criterion for determining when and whom to help.  When prayerfully applied, Paul’s criteria of discerning who has the direst need is beneficial.


As you pray these 30 days, where are you being led to help through giving? Talk with a trusted friend or spouse about a wise criterion for you. Remember, “need doesn’t necessitate a call to help.” Using biblical guidelines, journal about some criteria you can use to help you be a wise giver, and then follow through.


Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.

August is PRAYER. Keep track of our spiritual practices at

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

You Might Also Like