1 Timothy 5:4
But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents…
The radiance of a Christian character is to shine around the family hearth. In most minds the word home awakens emotions both sweet and solemn. Our tenderest relations, our strongest affections, our highest joys, our deepest sorrows, all are touched by the thought of home. The great duty which our text enjoins is the cultivation of piety at home.
I. HOME IS THE PLACE WHERE CHARACTER IS MOST TESTED; AND IF PIETY BE NOT SHOWN THERE, IT CANNOT BE SHOWN ANYWHERE. Our real character is not so much shown in what we do intentionally and with a purpose, as in what we do impulsively and without reflection. Abroad in the world men may wear a cloak — they may deceive others, they may deceive themselves as to their true character; but at home the cloak generally slips aside, the true character comes out, and those who see them in their unguarded hours know them as they really are. Often a word, a look, or even a gesture in the family will give more insight into a man's heart than years of observation of his public life. The close intercourse of home life tries as well as reveals the real character. That which tries character also helps to form it. Home not only shows what we are, it helps to make us what we shall be for ever. The education which is deepest and most enduring is that of the home school.
II. HOME IS SOMETIMES THE SCENE OF OUR DEEPEST SORROWS: AND PIETY IS THE BEST HELP TO ENABLE US TO BEAR THESE. The causes which disturb the happiness of home are manifold. Unwise marriage unions are the cause of much family misery. Bad habits are a frequent occasion of home sorrow, Evil tempers sometimes ruin the happiness of home. A practical carrying out of our text would speedily correct the evils to which we have referred, and change the character of the home-life where they have been endured. Were all the members of a family to "learn to show piety at home," what a scene of blessedness that would be! But there are other trials which sometimes convert the home into a "house of mourning," and which piety alone can enable us to meet. There are homes in which the pinching of poverty has to be endured. There are homes where disease presses with his heavy hand; and homes over which death spreads his black and chilly wing. But if there be only one pious member of the family, how the others will look to him and lean upon him in their hour of bereavement and sorrow! The influence acquired by consistency of character now operates for the good of his afflicted friends.
III. HOME OUGHT TO BE THE SCENE OF OUR HIGHEST JOY; AND PIETY IS THE ONLY MEANS TO MAKE IT SO, The mutual love and confidence so essential to family happiness, can be produced and secured by nothing so certainly as by a common affection for the Saviour. How blessed are the ties of nature when they are sanctified and strengthened by grace!
(G. D. Macgregor.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.