2 Kings 8 & 1 Timothy 5

2 Kings 8

    Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the LORD has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”

    Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, “The man of God has come here,” the king said to Hazael, “Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD through him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camels' loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die.” And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.” And Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The LORD has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.” Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” But the next day he took the bed cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.

    In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.

    In his days Edom revolted from the rule of Judah and set up a king of their own. Then Joram passed over to Zair with all his chariots and rose by night, and he and his chariot commanders struck the Edomites who had surrounded him, but his army fled home. So Edom revolted from the rule of Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time. Now the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? So Joram slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.

    In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, began to reign. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah; she was a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab.

    He went with Joram the son of Ahab to make war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead, and the Syrians wounded Joram. And King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.

(2 Kings 8 ESV)

1 Timothy 5

    Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

    Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

    Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

(1 Timothy 5 ESV)

Something to Consider

1 Timothy 5: In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to set apart at least one-tenth of their yearly earnings in order to support the priests who were supposed to dedicate their lives to care for the spiritual needs of God’s people. Later in the New Testament, we see our Lord actually underscore this principle when He sends out His disciples and tells them to not take any money, or any extra bags or extra clothes with them because in His words “the laborer deserves his food" (Matthew 10). Our Lord literally puts His disciples in a position where their mission must be supported by those they minister to. Supporting those who have dedicated their lives to the spread of the gospel and to the service of God’s children is a longstanding godly principle that is meant to humble those who receive the gifts and to bless those who give them.

Church leaders and ministry leaders serve God’s people by fighting for their protection from the enemy, helping them produce a fruitful harvest, and caring for them like a shepherd does for his sheep. As believers, we ought to show our gratitude by supporting and taking care of those who have dedicated their lives to serve our spiritual needs. The apostle Paul declared that financial support is a practical way to honor faithful service and hard work for the Kingdom of God.

Paul writes, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

Now, it should be made clear that we need to desperately exercise wisdom and discernment when it comes to giving our money (which is God’s money) to various church leaders and ministries. In Paul’s letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus, he gives some specific instructions as to what ministry leaders should and shouldn’t be like. He orders that leaders in ministry should not be lovers of money, they should never pursue dishonest gain, and they should never show any signs of greed. Instead they should be devoted and always eager to serve others. Scripture warns us that there will be false teachers among us that will seek to exploit us with false truths because of their desire for financial prosperity (2 Peter). We need to study those we support and make sure that they are working to expand God’s Kingdom rather than the advancement of their own.

That being said, we are responsible for taking care of those who have shown great integrity in the way that they have served the Lord and served us. Paul encouraged believers to care of their leaders financially, especially those who were teaching them the Word of God.  

"Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches" (Galatians 6).

Who are the men in your life that you have benefited from spiritually, and how can you support their ministry? What particular ministries have had a significant impact on your faith and what are ways that you can support their efforts? What church family are you apart of and are you helping to support their financial needs? Scripture is clear, we are called to support those who serve us spiritually. How are you caring for those who have dedicated their lives to caring for your soul?