Whose Responsibility is it to Provide?
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” -1 Timothy 5:8 KJV
I want to shake some tables.
I have read countless books; listened to countless messages from renowned pastors; all saying that it is the responsibility of the man to provide for the home and the usual anchor scripture is the one quoted above.
The effect of that message is that generations after generations of ladies have come to see themselves as the responsibility of the man.
It is classic conditioning at play. You hear something too often and you begin to believe it as truth.
Not long ago, I read a post where a lady was advising guys to go for ladies their size because you cannot expect a lady who has been using a very expensive body cream to lower her standard because you, the guy who is now dating her, cannot afford the class of body cream she was using.
As expected, most of the ladies who commented were in support. Ladies who have seen the four walls of a university. Ladies who should be able to apply logical thinking to spot the flaw in such a statement were all in agreement.
I have tried to look for the rationale behind that post. A lady who, obviously, was buying her cream by herself, now has a guy who is interested in her, and suddenly the new guy has an added responsibility – to start buying her cream for her. How that makes any sense, I still cannot fathom.
Unfortunately, the story is not different all over the world. For some ladies, being in a relationship with you means you cater for all their personal needs.
The questions that beg answering are:
1. Who was responsible for those needs before they met you?
2. What happened to the source of income that met those needs before they met you?
3. Why does all that have to stop just because they met you?
I don’t deny that the female gender is pleased when her man shows certain gestures like buying stuff for her. But surprising someone and taking responsibility for their needs when they are not handicapped are two different things.
Then you get into the marriage institution and you see the same mindset at play. It is the responsibility of the man to provide for the family.
“Says who?” You ask
“The Bible.” They answer.
“Where in the bible?”
“1 Timothy 5:8. But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
But is that verse saying the male gender is responsible for providing for the home? Why don’t we back up a few verses before and read further a few verses after? Let’s say from verse 3 down to verse 16.
What you will find is a mentor, Apostle Paul, writing to his protege, Timothy, instructing him on the subject of catering for widows, not on the subject of marriage.
He mentioned three categories of widows:
1. Widows indeed – elderly, no family members to cater for them.
2. Widows – elderly but with family members that can cater for them.
3. Younger widows – young, vibrant, with strong sexual desires, advised to remarry.
It was while addressing this subject of catering for these three different categories of widows that the verse of 1 Timothy 5:8 was sandwiched in the mix.
In that verse, Paul was specifically instructing Timothy that widows who still have family members around should not be a burden to the church.
That it is the responsibility of the family members of that widow to cater for her. For he (or she) who cannot (refuses to) provide for his (or her) own (widows in the family) has denied the faith.
Paul was not saying it is the responsibility of the man (male gender) to provide cooking money for the home. That was not the subject he was addressing. Unfortunately, that has become the twist we have given the verse.
There is nowhere in the bible where the male gender was given the responsibility of providing cooking money for the home.
The places where responsibilities ware meted out to the male, they were the responsibilities of:
1. Leadership. The man is the head of the woman.
2. Love & Protection. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself (died) for her.
Beyond those two, no other responsibility was given to the male gender.
In fact, when the wisest man who ever lived wrote about the virtuous woman, one of her qualities was rising up early to provide for the home.
Of course, that does not in any way imply that it is the responsibility of the woman to provide for the home. But the virtuous woman did that.
If providing for the needs of the home is not the responsibility of the man and not the responsibility of the woman, whose responsibility is it?
This, therefore, calls for wisdom.
We must be mindful of taking cultural practices in the bible and turning them into doctrines. The Bible contains both the word of God, the word of the devil, the words of angels and the words of men.
It is not anything that Israel practiced as a nation that automatically becomes a doctrine. Bear in mind that certain dispensations bestow certain responsibilities on people.
The physical structure of the man reveals that he is more suited for manual labour than the woman. So in an agrarian culture, the man farms while the woman takes care of the home. It was the dispensation that bestowed such responsibilities on them.
As time changes, we must also be ready to change with the changing times. The era where only the man went out to work is over. Why then should only the man shoulder the responsibility of the household?
In my home, there is no financial responsibility that is mine. All financial responsibilities are ours – my wife and I. Whether from rent to cooking, we are both responsible for the provision of whatever is needed.
When we prepare the budget, it is both our incomes that fund the budget. It is not my responsibility to provide for the home. It is our responsibility. It is our home.
Now, I earn more than my wife so I bear more financial responsibility. When we prepare the budget, I fund a higher portion because I earn a higher income.
If she was earning the higher income, she would bear more responsibility. It is not my home, it is our home. It only makes sense that we must do whatever makes the homework.
Maybe, out of my personal pride as a man, as my income grows, I can decide to fund the budget 100% and ask her to keep her money. But that is a separate matter. It does not make it my sole responsibility to provide for the financial needs of the home.
Now, even though I earn more than my wife does, I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. I work from home, so I am at home all day from Monday to Sunday. My wife, on the other hand, has a regular job. She leaves in the morning and returns in the evening.
Seeing that I am at home all day and my wife goes to work, who should take care of our daughter? I, of course. It is only logical that the one who is at home should cater to the baby.
So I clean her up, change her diapers, and change her clothes when she needs changing. Those are not the responsibilities of the wife. They are the responsibilities of the parents.
It will be stupid of me to say that because I am the man then I cannot do such tasks as changing diapers. That my wife must take the baby with her or find someone else to do them when I am at home all day doing nothing besides checking Facebook.
Only two commandments were given by Paul on the issue of marriage.
The first is, husbands, love your wives. The second is, wives, submit to your own husband. Nothing outside of those two is a commandment.
There is no commandment that the man should be the provider of the home.
There is no commandment that the woman should be the one to bathe the kids.
There is no commandment that only the man should work.
There is no commandment that the man must earn more than the wife.
Different dispensations only bestowed certain responsibilities on the different genders that helped them cope with the time. And as time changes we must be willing to make the necessary changes to suit the changing times.
And to you, young lady, that thinks that any man who dates you is automatically responsible for your personal upkeep, that is so 19th-century thinking. This is the 21st century. Human up!
About the Writer - Mute Efe Mute Efe is the tribe leader of The Leadership Tribe. A Facebook community with over 14,000 members with the vision of raising global leaders. Mute is also an accomplished author with the following books underhis belt: 1. The Beautiful Life 2. Get Naked Questionnaire 3. Are You Like Most People? 4. Why Bad Things Happen To Good People 5. What They Don't Tell You About Mentoring. A graduate of Electrical Electronics Engineering, a Certified Safety Professional and also certified in Basic and Advanced Leadership. Mute is Married to Priscillia and resides in Lagos, Nigeria.