Summary: A sermon on the struggles of caring for an aged parent (material adapted from Marilyn Fanning's book, The Not So Golden Years)
My dad would often joke that he needed to treat his children well because his 4 children would choose his nursing home. He wanted to make sure he got the best nursing home so he had to treat us well. One day my dad was talking about this on the phone with me and I came up with an idea. I said, “Dad, tell you what, if it comes to it, we’ll just move you in with us.” Dad said, “Move in with you? You mean that you would do that for me?” I said, “Yes, Dad, move in with us.” Dad answered, “I don’t think so. Your wife would have to take care of me because of all of your church responsibilities. Move in with you with all your children, you’ve got to be kidding.” Dad doesn’t joke about me choosing his nursing home anymore.
The Care Of The Elderly by David Padfield
The Ten Commandments were given by God at Mt. Sinai to govern His people (Exodus 20:1-17). These commandments are divided into two sections. The first four commandments deal with one's relationship to God, while the last six deal with one's relationship to other people.
In Exodus 20:12 we read, ““Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” These verses are clearly talked about in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”--which is the first commandment with a promise-- “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”” Ephesians 6:1-3, NIV.
Most people think of "honoring father and mother" only for a young child or teenager being obedient to their parents. This is only part of the issue. In the New Testament, our Lord applied Exodus 20:12 to those who sought to escape the burden of caring for their aging parents (Mark 7:10-13). Apparently, children (some of whom were no doubt parents themselves) exempted themselves from their obligation to "honor" their parents by declaring their money was "dedicated to the temple." They did not actually give the money to the temple, but they intended to do so. They then claimed they could not financially take care for their own parents. I have seen individuals pull the same scam in our day. Since the command to honor one's parents is repeated in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1,2), wouldn't those who seek to be relieved of this duty be just as guilty of sin as those to whom Jesus spoke?
“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:3, 4, NIV. Edgar Goodspeed translated this verse as, "to return the care of those who brought them up."
Some Christians expect institutions to do what families in the church ought to do. I know of Christians who purchase nice houses and automobiles, and then expect someone else to care for their parents. Such individuals should not be coddled, but withdrawn from if they refuse to honor their moral and spiritual obligations to their parents.