Theology of Singles, Widows, and the Elderly
The Family of Families is made up not only of nuclear families, but singles, widows, and the elderly as well. As such, a biblical understanding of each of these components must be investigated so that they can be effectively incorporated into the life of the church.
Guidelines given in Scripture to singles within the Family of Families seem to exalt those existing in that state as they are more able to focus on unfettered devotion to the Lord and to His Church (1 Cor. 7:8,17-35). One should remain single only when it is possible to be undistracted by temptations and desires for the physical union which is only possible through marriage (1 Cor. 7:1-7). Single men and women are under no obligation to marry, and neither are they sinning if they choose to marry (1 Cor. 7:36-38). The Family of Families becomes the family by extension for the single man or woman who is living outside the household of his or her parents. As such, single men and women should recognize those in spiritual authority as their “heads,” seeking to minister and grow under their leadership and counsel (Heb. 13:17).
The church’s commitment to the Family of Families concept has implications for elderly members who are not able to provide for themselves. As one would care for aging parents, the elderly must be honored and provided for when their own family either refuses or is unable to do so. Likewise, widows who have served their own families and the Family of Families well are to be financially supported if their families are unable or unwilling to support them (1 Tim. 5:3-16). The purity of the faith of the Family of Families is expressed in their care for those who are unable to care for themselves (James 1:27).