I Timothy 5:9-10 describes the qualities of an honorable woman (5:3). It is the kind of life a woman should live that the church should honor (respect). This is what we are to be doing NOW to fulfill God´s will for our lives. (It was written for the local church to know what kind of widows they should support and honor. This is what we are to be aiming for.) Illustration: A teenager looking beyond college to his life career prepares in college for it.
I. Having been the wife of one man (Literally a one man woman)
Her only interest and desire has been with the one man to whom she made her marriage vows. She shouldn´t be thinking of other men. Her whole life is characterized by and revolves around and is consumed with that one man. ILL: Help meet. We were made to support and undergird our husbands. APPL: It´s not OUR careers and lives that we are trying to build but our husbands. We were not made to be the leaders of our husbands but he helpers of our husbands.
II. Well reported of for good works (Literally to witness; to testify)
This means to speak well of a person on the basis of personal experience. It´s others speaking of you by personal testimony. ILL: Dorcas (Acts 9:35-42, especially v. 39). How is this illustrated in the life of Dorcas? When the widows heard of her death, they came and gave testimony of Dorcas´ good works. It´s not what WE think of ourselves, it´s what OTHERS think and say of us. We taint our view of ourselves. Others can tell what we´re really like. APP: If it had bee you in Acts 9, what would people be saying of you? Would there be any tangible evidence? What can we do? What are some practical ways that we can demonstrate good works?
III. If she have brought up children
There´s a big difference between having children and raising children. Every mother has had a child, but not every mother cares for their child. It means to raise a child to maturity by providing for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs. The average mother often thinks of just the physical needs (food and clothing), however, it goes beyond that. It includes passing on your faith, I like to call it. ILLUSTRATION: II Timothy 1:5 (Timothy got the same sincere faith (unfeigned) that came from his mother and grandmother) and in v. 15 of chapter 3, he was taught the Word of God as a little child. His father had no involvement in his spiritual well-being, because he was an unsaved Gentile (Acts 16:1), it was all his mother´s example and instruction. APPL: What are some ways that we are active in training our children? What are some of the distractions? (Working outside the home, selfish pursuits: hobbies, etc.)
IV. If she have lodged strangers
This is the word for hospitality and it actually comes from this term. It means to receive and show hospitality to a stranger, someone who is not regarded as a member of the family or close friend. This meant you opened up your home for both food and a place to sleep. These people didn´t always have adequate notice. It was often short-term and the need was met. We often like to entertain friends and relatives, those we're comfortable around. We like plenty of notice. The home is the woman´s domain (she cooks, cleans, etc.)
Let´s look at II Kings 4:8-10 . Did someone force her to do this? She wanted this so badly she constrained him. If you´re going to be complaining about the work that needs to be done ahead of time, then you have the wrong attitude. God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7). When we have a need for housing for a missionary, the pastor likes to hear that someone WANTS to take them, not ask people to do it. The spirit needs to be there. This is the only woman in Scripture that God Himself calls great. What statements tell us why she was a great woman? What tells us that she showed this quality? Elisha did not impose himself. No one should.
She constrained him. She really wanted to have him in her home. This is a quality that is woven throughout all the examples of women who practiced hospitality. He as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither. He knew he was welcome any time. We know what houses we can drop in at at a moment´s notice, and which ones we can´t. The hostess has made that clear. Verse 10 is where we get prophet´s chamber. They made a bed especially for him, a table a stool and a candlestick in this special room made just for him. This way he could do whatever he needed or wanted. They were prepared for him whenever. There are preparations to show hospitality (ie: a special fund (money set aside), an extra roast in the freezer, a room used specifically for just missionaries, etc.)
I Kings 17:8-16 In verse 9, God commanded the widow and she didn´t know how she could do it. In verse 12, she doesn´t have the means to do it. She wasn´t flat out turning him down. In verse 15, she obeyed the Word of God. God commands you (Romans 12:13), and you don´t know how you´ll do it. Perhaps finances are tight, but when God commands it, He also supplies the resources to accomplish His will.
Acts 12:12 Believers were gathered at the home of Mary for prayer.
Acts 16:15 Lydia constrained (same word as in II Kings) Paul and his missionary companions. She opened up her house for them to live with her. V. 40 indicates that her house was also where the church met in Phillipi.
V. If she have washed the saints´ feet
This principle is very important for us today, which is service with humility. It was something no one really wanted to do. It was a menial task, actually a servant's job. Specifically ministering to saints. Self-abasing. ILL John 13: Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, which no person with any respect or authority would do. Jesus was setting the example. Also, Mary washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. APP: What are some ways that we can demonstrate this humility? Cleaning the church; ministering to the lonely, elderly; different needs arise that by fulfilling, it won´t put you in the limelight, but why are we doing it? For self glory and notice by others? To glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and minister to others.
VI. If she have relieved the afflicted
To assist by providing what is needed Afflicted refers to a person who is experiencing trouble or suffering hardship. You´re meeting the needs of people that are suffering and are basically neglected and overlooked. Who are some people that Jesus ministered to that none of the religious people would ever minister to? Lepers, demon possessed, tax collectors, drunkards, harlots. . .This is an other-person focused woman. She is ministering to the needs of others and looking to comfort them. She is not focused on herself. In what ways have you relieved the afflicted? Older people who are lonely, a phone call, a letter, a visit, etc.
VII. If she have diligently followed every good work
This is a woman who has been committed whole heartedly to ministering to the needs of others. She´s not focused on herself. She´s devoted to it. It´s not occasional or haphazard, it´s daily commitment to meeting the needs of others whatever, whenever, wherever. It´s a matter of your will not your personality or feelings (Titus 2:14; Titus 3:8; Ephesians 2:10) Good works are why we are left here on earth. We should be demonstrating to others the truth of salvation.
Any woman can and SHOULD do all of this. There are no special pre-requisites (education, money, talent), just a commitment to minister to others and do good works.
**Written by Julie L.