Beyond the Weekend

August 28 | Religion into Practice

August 28, 2023


But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 1 Timothy 5:4

Read: 1 Timothy 5:3-8
Listen: 1 Timothy 5


Timothy is a young pastor in the first-century metropolis of Ephesus. The Jesus-community there is growing, and with growth come needs. Paul writes to Timothy with some advice on how to know which needs to meet and which people the church should use its limited resources to support. One of the criteria Paul gives is whether the person has family. It seems like Paul is saying that family is the first line of defense for meeting needs. Timothy and the church are only to step in with significant, long-term support when no family can help.

This is common sense. Good families have been helping each other out for all of history. It’s a primary human responsibility. That’s why Paul says that if the Jesus-followers aren’t willing to care for their families—they are worse than those who don’t follow Jesus. It’s like he’s saying if they won’t love people the way almost everyone does, how can they ever love people the way Jesus calls to love them? Taking care of family is an essential obedient step of putting religion into practice.

Paul’s principle of family being the first line of defense sheds light on what many of us are or will experience. For those of us caring for aging parents or grandparents, God is pleased with what you’re doing. Others need to consider what it looks like for us to take care of our parents, grandparents or other family members. It seems this is something God takes seriously, and Paul makes it clear we should do this. It’s part of following Jesus.


Reflect on what family “being the first line of defense for needs” means for you. Ask God to give you clarity and insight into what it looks like for you to take care of the needs of both your family and extended family.


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.

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