Paul is talking specifically here about widows, but the words he speaks is relevant to all.
In talking about the kind of widow the church is to support, he says,
The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. (5)
In other words, the church was to meet the needs of truly godly widows who had no means of support, but whose hope was in God. They were women who throughout their lives, were known for their good deeds, serving and helping those around them. (9-10)
And I have to believe that even in their old age, even after their husbands died, they continued in these things. They didn’t engage in pity parties or start looking only to themselves and their own needs. Rather, they continued to turn their face to God and committed themselves in Christ’s name to touching the lives of others.
But then Paul said,
But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. (6)
The ESV puts it,
She who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
Many times, people, not just widows, get to the point in life where they think, “I’ve done enough for others. It’s time to live for myself.”
For many that’s at retirement. For others, it can come even earlier than that. But either way, it’s a very selfish way of living. And God says that when we focus merely on ourselves, we become dead even while we live.
God did not raise us with Christ simply to live for ourselves. As Paul wrote the Corinthians,
[Jesus] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
To live for yourself is not life at all. It’s death. It is when we get our eyes off of ourselves and onto God and what he wants us to do in the lives of those around us, that we truly find life.
How about you? Where is your focus? On yourself? On what God and others can do for you? Then you are dead while you are still living.
God has called you to so much more. So let us get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the God who has given us new life. And let us live that new life.
Who are you living for?