When I had my last birthday – 6 months ago – I realized I am the same age as Jesus when he died. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the entire population of the world had a life expectancy over 40.
This brings up a valid point when looking at the demographics of the early church: when the women were becoming widows, they were still young.
Why bring this up? Well, we have a very different world today, but we still need to pay attention to the scriptures. We need to see the underlying messages that span culture and time and apply those to our world and churches today.
In the bible times, there were many verses relating to how the church should treat the widows. Acts 6, and 1 Corinthians 7 relate to this issue, but the one many people remember is James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Really, true religion has to do with taking care of orphans and widows. Many churches and individuals today are taking care of orphans through foster care and support of children’s homes, but what about the widows, and has circumstances changed any throughout time?
We still have widows, today. Most of the widows I’ve known are some of the most precious women. They are usually elderly, and they are very appreciative of any help you give them. But, I must admit that the number of widows has diminished compared to the rest of the population because of enhanced health care and lifestyles. The percentage of the population that is widowed is very small.
We do have a percentage of the population that seems to be growing however, and this population needs help too, but it is often overlooked by almost everyone: Single Mothers.
They are not necessarily widows, but they may as well be. Many of them have ex-husbands who give them no support, and they are forced to raise latchkey children while they scrape up every penny they can find just to feed their family. The statistics show that the children of single moms are more likely to grow up in poverty and even cause criminal mischief as they get older.
This is simply a wake-up call to our churches. Do we have single moms in our congregations? Yes, we do. Do they need our help? Yes. Some may not need financial help, but every single mom needs a man or men who are willing to mentor her children. Every child needs a man who they can look up to and learn from.
So, the age of single mothers today is probably the same age of widows in Jesus’ day.
As we plan our children’s events and our marriage retreats and our senior’s dinners, let’s also make a concerted effort to help this often overlooked group of women who are on the front lines of spiritual warfare daily without a husband there to stand with them and fight.
Just my two cents. Have a great week, and may God call you to true religion.