Robert, that is such a pivotable text. And ne which we seldom hear. It takes the thoughtful reader into many directions at once. Thank you for having the courage to post it.
Why are there so few ‘sermons’ preached on this matter? Could it possibly be that some ’preachers’ might see this theme as translating into less funding for themselves?
I ask because many churches operate under very tight budgets. So tight that there is little or no support for missionaries or evangelists - much less a needs-based welfare assistance plan.
Can a person lose their salvation, now that they are worse than an infidel?
Is the ’New Testament God’ also one who speaks in stern warnings? I notice He is referred to as consuming fire in the book of Hebrews, I believe.
This text seems to be in the context of widows - how much more then our immediate families?
Is the family not under a ceaseless, ruthless attack today - even by the state? And not without the complicity of many churches, too?
We have often heard that the early church was an organism - not an organization. Hmmm. Really? It had regular meetings. Officers with defined roles. A special meal. Membership requirements. And here, a welfare system for those with no relatives.
Has not the church lost much of its relevance in view of it having relegated charity to the civil government?
Here again, the early church is exercising a filtering process with regards to who receives charity or honor. It is needs-based. Not a perpetual salary for all seniors. Paul spoke of honoring certain widows or female elders in the above chapter.
Naturally, his thoughts would also go to the senior men or appointed elders of the church. Those male elders were worthy of "double honor" if certain criteria were met. This is not the same as a regular salary for one man who is basically dominating a church's ministry, as others are silenced. No, we are talking about the conditional needs of the elderly. A term which, btw, had thousands of years of consistent meaning. I E, older man.
Many questions arise here as we view the modern landscape.
Finally, let us remember our dying Savior's unselfish words from the Cross - "Behold your Mother". And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.0 0 0 0 0 0 0