The US federal government has a financial safety net of sorts that in our day is supposed to catch the elderly after they fall out of regular employment. We call it social security.
In American society in general, who is supposed to take care of the aged ones?
The government, of course!
The Bible speaks of a different kind of social security: God and His people.
“If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:16).
In this verse I hear God telling me, “Mark, you must care for the elderly in your family. Don’t expect the church to do so. The church must care for those who don’t have close relatives who can care for them.”
I wonder if I should also hear this from God: “Mark, if there is an elderly person in your congregation who is approaching destitution and has no close kin to care for him, it is your congregation’s responsibility to care for him. Your congregation, Mark. That’s you!”
On the other hand, I could argue that 1 Timothy 5:16 is in a societal context wherein the federal government offered no Social Security program like the US government offers. Thus God had to establish the blood family and the church family as a social security system.
And that argument just might have merit.
It just might.