THE IMPORTANCE OF WIDOWS

by K. A. Pugh

 

God has always held widows in high esteem.  He has always commanded His people to properly care for widows, it was written in the law, “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child” (Exodus 22:22).  Numerous times God commanded the children of Israel to look after the widows.  When the people gathered their harvest, they were to leave sheaves in the field for the widows (Deuteronomy 24:19).  When they harvested olives, the harvesters were not to shake the trees a second time because what was left after the first gathering was for the widows (Deuteronomy 24:20).  They were to leave grapes in the vineyard for the widows (Deuteronomy 24:21).  Judges and court officials were not to take advantage of widows and pervert judgment.  The law stated, “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of a stranger, nor of the fatherless, nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge” (Deuteronomy 24:17).

The widows has been used consistently by God to help carry out His will. God told Elijah there would be a drought in the land and he was to stay at the brook Cherith.  After a while, the brook dried up and there was no water for the prophet God then told Elijah, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (I Kings 17:9). This widow woman fed Elijah with the little she had and as a result, God blessed her.

One day, Jesus was sitting against the treasury watching the people cast their money into it.  A certain poor widow came and threw in two mites.  He said of her, “Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury” (Mark 12:43).  Jesus took the opportunity to teach a valuable lesson on giving from the actions of a poor widow.

Luke’s account tells of a widow named Anna who was from the tribe of Asher.  She was of great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity.  She was fourscore and four years (84 years old) and she departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day (Luke 2:36-37).  She was a widow, dedicated to serving God and waiting for Jesus the Savior.

Widows are important to God and widows are important to the congregations where they attend.  God commanded a widow to feed Elijah.  In most congregations, it is the widows who are the most helpful to the saints and to others.

Some of the most generous people in congregations are those who are widowed.  They give of their time, their talents, and their treasury.  We can learn many valuable lessons by watching their lives.

In most congregations, many of the widows are like Anna.  They never depart from the temple and they serve God.  Widows understand the importance of assembling with the saints and serving the Master.  Sometimes the widows can be counted on being in the assembly more than most young people and young couples.  This speaks volumes of the widows’ dedication to the Lord.

The faithful widows throughout the congregations of the Lord’s church deserve honor, respect, and thanks.  They are examples to us all in word and deed. Paul stated, “Honor widows that are widows indeed” (I Timothy 5:3).

Widows have always played an active role in God’s plan and are still playing active roles in the Lord’s kingdom today.  Keep them in your prayers and thoughts, and thank a widow for her graciousness, faithfulness, kindness, and dedication to the Lord.