New Testament Example for Caring for Widows and Orphans

By L. L. Applegate

Ruling power begins, and ends with the local congregation (Acts 20:28). Elders are told to feed the church He purchased with His blood (1 Peter 5:2). Feed flock among you, taking the oversight thereof. In the 6th Ch. Acts verses 1-6 we have example of caring for widows. Such was within the framework of the local church at Jerusalem. Notwithstanding, many depart from the New Testament example and build centralized homes (Institutions) separate and apart from the local church to care for widows and orphans.

Such homes (Institutions) were unknown in the days of the Apostles and are not recorded in New Testament. Many thousands of dollars are spent for buildings (Institutions) for the aged so that children or nephews may send their mother or father there, thus freeing them of caring for them in their own house. Read 1 Tim. 5:3, 4: “Honour widows that are widows indeed. 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.” Let us hear what Apostle Paul said relative to those who would not care for their own. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). These scriptures tell us how to care for widows and orphans. We have members among us today who say we have no New Testament example for such work so it is left to man’s own judgment how such work is to be done. Read what the Prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 10:23: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Let us learn not to go beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6). Those who transgress and go beyond the New Testament example have not God Quo. 9). Churches of the Lord who send money out of church treasury to Institutional homes, whether it be for widows or orphans, are sinning, whether they realize it or not. There is no Bible authority for such. But we do have Bible authority for what we do (Col. 3:17).

Institutional homes such as homes for aged and orphan as we have them among us must come to an end. They originated in the heart of man and not of God.

Hear a small boy as he asks his father this question as they were on the way to old folks home.- “Father, where are you taking grandpapa?” Father’s reply, “Son, I’m taking him to the old folks’ home,” The boy said to his father, “Is that where you want me to take you when you get old?” The father’s answer: “We’re taking grandpapa back home with us.” Please note the truth brought home to this father by his son.

Christian reader, would you prefer going to an institution rather than being home with loved ones? If you have no one, children or nephew, then make your home with a Christian family in your home congregation where you may be able to worship God in spirit and in truth (Jno. 4:24). (Copies free upon request from his widow, Mrs. L. L. Applegate, Cottondale, Florida 32431)

Truth Magazine, XX:23, p. 11
June 3, 1976