The Care of Elderly Parents

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on May 22, A.D. 2022.

One thing that many in this room will one day encounter, if you have not already, is how to best honor and care for your elderly parents.

As we know, our society has jumbled up the role and purpose of the family. One example of this is the outsourced care and education of our children. And so we here have endeavored to cultivate a robust view of the family, biblical childrearing, and intentional Christian education.

But one area that remains largely unmentioned in the church is the care of aging parents. What should be done for them when they begin to struggle to take care of themselves? We readily admit that the practical questions are as numerous as the variables involved. But a foundational guiding principle to embrace right now to help answer these questions is this: that God desires for children to honor, love, and care for their parents.

When writing to Timothy regarding the support of widows, Paul explains that the responsibility falls first to the family. He says that the children of the widow should learn to show godliness to their own household and repay their parents. This is a basic familial duty and one that Paul says is especially pleasing to God (1 Tim. 5:3–16).

Consider the example of our Lord, who while suffering on the cross entrusted the care of His mother to the Apostle John. And out of all that Jesus said and did, John thought Jesus’ concern for His mother was significant enough to be recorded in his Gospel for all eternity.

So my exhortation to you is to cultivate a heart of honor and care toward your parents, whether these scenarios are twenty years away, a couple years away, or already happening. Begin to think these things through now so that when difficult times and questions come, at the very least your heart has been prepared before God.

Every situation and solution will be different – note that I have not given specifics – but the command to honor your parents will remain. For some of you, this might require great sacrifice and discomfort. But we know that this is the exact kind of faithfulness that God delights to reward, for it is the first command with a promise (Ex. 20:12, Eph. 6:2–3).

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