For most of history, humans were in desperate pursuit of feeding their families. Today there is such an abundance of food in most of the world that there is a massive waste. The impetus to get out and work so that your family can eat is gone. During Paul’s day, some saw the church as a free meal ticket. They became a burden on those who had generous hearts. Paul doesn’t mince words when it comes to these people.
“But if anyone does not provide for his own family, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Deniers of the Faith
Food wasn’t natural to come by in Paul’s day. Sure, you could go to the market and purchase what you needed for the day, but there wasn’t refrigeration to preserve it. You had to stay on top of things to maintain a consistent source of food. Those who didn’t provide for their families were pretty low in Paul’s eyes. They were deniers of the faith and worse than an unbeliever. They were becoming a problem in Timothy’s church, and Paul tells him how to deal with them.
Technology has made it easier for the masses to eat today. That doesn’t alleviate our responsibility to work to earn money to pay for the food. Charity should only be accepted when the circumstances dictate. This requirement isn’t removed when we don’t like our job, or our boss is mean to us. We have to trust God that even in the problematic situations He is there to provide and protect us.
If you read between the lines of this passage, you start to see that as a believer, our responsibility to take care of more than our household. We are also responsible for our extended family and those in the church who are in need. To be honest, we should be cultivating generous hearts for everyone we come in contact. That is the example Jesus left for us, and it is where real joy is found.