“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, young women as sisters in all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
I love the multi-generational family language Paul uses here in his letter to Timothy.
With the breakdown of the family, we too often we see our culture pulling generations apart, creating isolation and attitudes of dishonor and disrespect. The Church was never meant to be separated hubs of a targeted demographic or age group – full of all college students or all young marrieds or everyone over 65.
The Church was meant to be a greenhouse, cultivating generational teaching and love – where children gain wisdom from stories of their spiritual grandparents and young couples learn about marriage and parenting from those further down the road. Where young adults are pouring into students, and students are pouring into children. It was meant to be like family.
We see this kind of language all throughout the New Testament – fellow believers are consistently referred to as brothers and sisters. We see Paul write about spiritual fathers and Jesus Himself tells Mary and John from the cross that they are now family. And this isn’t easy for us…family isn’t easy. It’s challenging. It’s complicated. But no matter how painful it is, it’s worth it as we grow in love and maturity through true, authentic, life-giving relationships in His Church.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the family design of Your Church. Help me to love my spiritual fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters with the love You have first shown me. Amen.