October 4: Widows and the Church

Read Acts 6:1-7

I am not sure how many times I have read, taught, and written about this passage. A bunch; that’s certainly safe to say. I suppose each of those times I focused on or emphasized some pretty predictable aspects of those verses, including things like:

  • Unity and discrimination
  • The importance of delegation
  • The role of spiritual shepherds
  • Qualifications of ministry leaders
  • The importance of deacons

Indeed, all of those emphases are part of the biblical text. But there is still something even more basic. It is something that Luke probably didn’t even intend to highlight. It seemed to be part of the fabric of the early church; something that, to them, was instinctive and obvious. Here it is:

Widows are deserving of Christian care.

Is that obvious today? Is that obvious to us? In the busyness of our lives, it is easy to overlook these important people. It is easy to go to calling hours or attend a funeral, and, with sincerity and deep emotion, express words like, “If you need anything, just give me a call.” And then, it is easy to return to the demands of life assuming that no call means no need. Instead, it might mean that the pain is too deep to call, that their concern for interrupting your life is too real.

But what if you assumed the responsibility for checking in to see if there is a need? What if you took the initiative to stay in touch? What if you offered to mow a lawn, fix a meal, or make a repair?

Although we will look at the guidelines that the church later developed for widow care tomorrow, here are a two closing thoughts about our church’s more formal ministry to widows.

  1. GriefShare is a ministry offered to all who have lost loved ones. We offer this study 2-3 times a year.
  2. As a church, we bless widows in Africa through the ministry of Project Hope and Charite and also in Asia through Asia’s Hope.

Now what about your individual response?


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