Take care of widows who are destitute.
If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely.
You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own.
But a widow who exploits people's emotions and pocketbooks - well, there's nothing to her.
Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family.
Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That's worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once,
and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.
Don't put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they'll want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way.
By breaking their word, they're liable to go from bad to worse,
frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities.
No, I'd rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault.
Some of them have already left and gone after Satan.
Any Christian woman who has widows in her family is responsible for them. They shouldn't be dumped on the church. The church has its hands full already with widows who need help.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)