“Those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in
their own household, have denied the true faith. Such
people are worse than unbelievers.”
(I Timothy 5:8)
Thoughts… As we awaken to the headlines this morning, it looks as if the U.S. government will step in with a 700 billion dollar bailout of our troubled financial institutions. Unfortunately, the gargantuan financial crisis on Wall Street is only indicative of a society that has even bigger trouble all the way down on Main Street. Most observers of our culture would readily agree that the American family is in serious crisis—and that’s the real problem for our nation!
As family structures are weakened, greater and greater pressure is put on the government, the school system, various social institutions, and even the church to meet the needs of people that God intended families to meet. Just within the last decade or two in American society, we have witnessed a growing and alarming dependency on institutions to meet our needs. What our parents and grandparents understood to be their personal responsibility, we now expect someone or something else to provide.
The truth of the matter is, nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is our government required to provide universal health care or retirement benefits or low interest loans to high-risk endeavors or in general, a pain-free life. Our founding fathers did not guarantee our happiness, only the right for us to pursue it.
Likewise, the school system is not the answer to producing brighter and better citizens. Schools work best in educating their students when parents are heavily and intricately involved with their children in the learning process. When parents take the lead in their child’s education, the school can come alongside the parent’s efforts in a supportive role and be far more effective in producing young people who are ready to enter into society as well prepared and responsible citizens.
Furthermore, the Bible, our spiritual constitution, does not say that the institutional church is obligated to take care of every financial need its members may have. It was very specific about who should be helped, and who should not. The list of qualifying candidates was very slim, as you can read in I Timothy 5. Paul was very clear that believers ought to be reluctant in burdening the church by requiring resources that should be directed to other, more legitimately needy people.
The fact of the matter is, the government, the school and the church cannot meet every single need and every single want of its citizenry. Nor should it. But the family can and should be the place where needs are met and wants are vetted. God intended for families—both the nuclear family and the extended family—to be the place where the physical, emotional, educational and financial needs of the individual were addressed.
The breakdown of the family in today’s world explains why God’s family plan isn’t working very well—but it doesn’t excuse it. And it certainly doesn’t remove the responsibility we as individuals have to provide for our families.
So while social security threatens to implode, national health care is being hotly debated, welfare programs—individual and corporate—are being resurrected and ever-present socialism is peaking around the corner, the church needs to step in and lead the way in showing the world how God’s family plan is the real answer to these societal challenges.
God wants you to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of your family. Are you? If you are not, begin to reestablish and strengthen your family ties so that when the time comes, you can step in and help meet the needs of your loved ones. To rephrase Paul’s words, when you care for your relatives, especially those in your own household, you have affirmed the true faith, and in so doing, have exemplified authentic Christianity.
Prayer… Dear God, I pray that you will help me to lead my family in such a way that we will demonstrate to a watching world how your family plan is the answer to what ills our society.
One More Thing… “The family fireside is the best of schools.” — Arnold Glasow