HOW DID YOU SEE GOD THIS WEEK AS YOU FOLLOWED HIM?

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

Opening Question:

Share an experience of when someone advocated for you or empowered you to do something you could not have done on your own.

Pastor Mitch shared a story of how the his family was prevented from going to Japan as missionaries because they were Korean. The Alliance church advocated for their family, overturned a policy, and sent them to Japan where his father planted the fastest growing church in Japan. As believers, we are called to care for the marginalized in a way that advocates and empowers them to release the purposes of God in their lives.

3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 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. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 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. 9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 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. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 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. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan. 16 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.

Reflect Together:

In the ancient world, widows did not have a way to provide for themselves and did not have basic protections. Along with the fatherless and the foreigner, they were among the most vulnerable in society. How does the passage instruct us to care for them?

Which widows were given priority and why? What is the reasoning for how they should be cared for?

Why were younger widows not put on the “list of widows”? How can helping sometimes hurt?

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

Jesus is our advocate, our mediator and our intercessor. He reached us when we were alienated from God. We reach out to those who are alienated in society because we have been there – and not that long ago. How does that understanding help us to reach out to the spiritually, physically, and emotionally poor, broken, and marginalized?

What insights from God’s Word are you carrying from this?

WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?

Proverbs 31:8 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”  There are many different ways to advocate or care for those on the margins. What ways do you feel God leading you to advocate and empower others?