Ruth 4:1
Those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their
own household, have denied the true faith (1 Timothy 5:8).

If you feel as if you’re a walking ham and cheese
on rye, there might be good reason. More and
more people are becoming part of the “sandwich
generation.” They’re feeling the squeeze of caring for
children while also supporting parents or parents-in-law.
A recent report reveals that one in five working-age
people in Asia are now officially “sandwiched.”

Boaz and Ruth provide an ancient example of how to
care for ankle-biters and aging parents. After choosing
to take the widow Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 4:10), Boaz
also accepted the responsibility of caring for her aging,
destitute mother-in-law Naomi (v.16). God blessed Boaz
and Ruth with a child whom they named Obed (v.17). In
time, the child would grow and become the grandfather
of King David (v.17).

From this account, we can see two principles that
instruct us when we’re feeling the multigeneration

• God requires that we lovingly care for both children
and parents. Echoing Jesus’ example of making sure
His mother was cared for (John 19:25-27), the apostle
Paul wrote, “Those who won’t care for their relatives . . .
have denied the true faith” (1 Timothy 5:8). In the same
passage, he states that we must care for widows who
are part of our family (v.16).

• The young and the old need each other. It’s
interesting to note that Naomi the widow ended up caring for and nurturing
Obed (Ruth 4:16). What a great picture of a healthy family, with the older
teaching and modeling faith to the younger!

Being sandwiched can be tough. But the blessings that come with extending
one hand to our children and the other to our aging parents are abundant. Just
ask Naomi and Obed.

—Tom Felten

Note what pleases God in 1 Timothy 5:3. Apply these verses to your
family situation today.

If you’re caring for both kids and parents, what spiritual or material
resources have you not tapped into? Why? If you’re not sandwiched,
how can you help someone you know who is?