Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Tim. 5:8)

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was working at a mental health clinic. Many of the clients we served suffered deeply from childhoods that were abusive, neglectful, or both. Before my son was born, my coworkers gave me a baby shower. Knowing how important solid families are, a card (harshly) teased, “I’m sure your child will need minimal counseling.” This was suggesting, of course, that even in the best of circumstances, every family is somewhat dysfunctional. Good families intentionally work against this. This brief note stuck with me, and my experiences at the clinic marked me. My goal as a mother, I determined, would be to prioritize my children. Healthy family members watch out for one another. Family comes before work, entertainment, and even ministry.

In this passage, we are bluntly reminded that failure to care for our own family is sin. Paul’s instructions to Timothy were specific and clear. Families should care for one another; when family members cannot or do not, the church family must step in. Compelled by love, we must earnestly seek to meet these expectations.

Oftentimes, we are so busy with public, noteworthy service to strangers that we fail in private, faithful service to family. This should not be. We must first care for the families that God has entrusted to us so that we can, in turn, care for the lost.

Joyfully and faithfully care for family.

Dalene Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.