In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul is writing in a fatherly way to his young protégé Timothy. He has reminded him of the importance of watching out for false teachers and holding fast to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also reiterates the value of prayer and the qualifications for those who would be leaders in the household of God. In chapter 4, Paul calls Timothy to live an exemplary Christian life so that those in his care would have an example to follow.
In chapter 5, Paul finishes his letter by giving Timothy a laundry list of instructions for himself and the church he pastored. It’s almost as if Paul had someone on the inside of the church reporting to him about issues within the church. Perhaps, Timothy asked his mentor for some help on how to navigate current waters. Either way, we know the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these things not only for Timothy’s benefit but also for every person who would read these words throughout time.
Below is a snippet of Paul’s instructions of care to the church Body:
- Treat the elderly as fathers and mothers and younger ones as brothers and sisters in all purity. Having respect for one another is the key.
- Honor widows who are truly widows (of a certain age, have a good reputation, care for others)
- Respect the elders who serve the church
- Deal with sin swiftly
- Be careful how quickly you choose leaders
The bottom line is that Christianity is not ethereal or cosmic in reality. It is actually very practical. We are to follow the example of Christ and humbly treat others the way we want to be treated. Pretty basic stuff, but impossible to do without the grace of God. May the real church stand up and be recognized not only by what we say but also by what we do.