Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 1, 1960

Shelving Responsibility

Ferrell Jenkins, St. Louis, Mo.

In An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, under the word "widow" comes a very interesting comment. Vine says: "I Tim. 5:9 refers to elderly widows (not an ecclesiastical 'order'), recognized, for relief or maintenance by the church (cp.vv.3,16), as those who had fulfilled the conditions mentioned; where relief could be ministered by those who had relatives that were to be responsible; there is an intimation of the tendency to shelve individual responsibility at the expense of church funds." (Emphasis mine, FJ)

There is no doubt but that the tendency to "shelve individual responsibility at the expense of church funds" was present in the first century. Paul says, "But if any provideth not for his own, and especially his own household, he bath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." (I Tim. 5:8) In the twentieth century there is still the tendency to shelve individual responsibility (Jas. 1:27; Gal. 6:10; I Tim. 5:16; Eph. 6:1-4) at the expense of the church treasury. Certain benevolent deeds, the providing for ones needy relatives, the provision of secular education, social life, and recreation for one's children, are obligations of the individual Christian and should not be "shelved."

Some individuals do not want to fulfill their obligations in the aforementioned matters. And since the church is composed of individuals many place these responsibilities on the church, thus escaping their own responsibilities It is easier (on me) for the church to give $50 toward taking care of my obligations than it is for me to do so. May each of us realize our responsibilities and fulfill them at our own expense, rather than at the "expense of church funds."