Q. I thank you for your ministry which I read every day; you have explained so much that I didn’t understand. Part of this week’s lesson was “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Tim. 5:8)” What does God expect from a parent of an adult child who has never worked nor actively looked for a job but chooses to live on assistance? I feel as if I’m enabling her desire not to work if I give her money. Does providing for her child (which I do) fulfill God’s expectation?
A. God typically does not just hand money to people. He provides for us through opportunities to exchange our talents and abilities for the income required to support us. In fact in 2 Thes. 3:10 Paul said an able bodied person who won’t work should not eat. This means we’re not obligated to support those who are capable of supporting themselves.
In 1 Tim 5 Paul was addressing the issue of the church caring for the widows among them. He said only those elderly widows who’ve been left alone and can’t support themselves should become the church’s responsibility. Those who have able bodied children or grandchildren should look to them for support. He was referring to the children of these widows when he indicated that anyone who does not provide for his family has denied the faith.
When Jesus said God would meet our needs in this life if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:31-33), He wasn’t speaking of creating a Christian welfare state. He was promising to provide opportunities for us to earn a living so we would never have to worry about life’s essentials.