In our frenetic society we are already so busy with homework, jobs, and families, that the five good works in 1 Timothy 5:9-10 may feel overwhelming.
But we must remember that Paul was talking about what these widows had accomplished throughout their lifetime, not all at once. Giving themselves wholeheartedly to good works no doubt looked different at various times in their lives.
For moms of small children, you are applying this verse every day, all day. As my husband often says “no one has a harder job than a mom with young kids.” This statement felt true to me when I had little ones, and now that I am watching my daughters mother their children, it rings more true than ever.
You may not be the first to show up in a crisis or do the most hospitality, but you are washing little feet all day as you humbly serve your family. I pray you know God’s pleasure in your faithful service. It is pleasing to him, and even though no one else may see, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4).
I also know women who are eager to do good works, but despair because of limitations such as sickness, aging, a disability or a crisis. If you feel, “put on the shelf” as Charles Spurgeon vividly described it, then take his advice and pray for others. For there is “no greater kindness” you can do for someone. You may not be able to serve others in physically demanding ways, but you can still bring honor to the Savior through good works.
We all have different capacities and gifts, and so we must resist the temptation to compare. This is not a competition. Every woman who sincerely serves the Savior gives glory to God. It all comes down to one question: Do I strive for a reputation of good works in order to reflect the Savior’s Good Work?
And remember this: When all is said and done, after we have spent and been spent doing good works, we must, as one wise man once said, make a heap of all our good works and all our bad works and flee them both to Christ.