Age-Old Question

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

Last spring, two 48-year-old twin brothers chose not
to help their mother after she fell and hurt herself.
The duo simply left the injured woman in the
entryway of the house they shared with her. Police were
contacted after the mother hadn’t been seen by friends
for several weeks. They found her body in the spot where
she had fallen—3 months after her death. The defense
for the two sons, who were charged with murder, claimed
the men had mental disabilities that prevented them from
helping their mom. What a horrifying, sad story!
The apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy (a young
pastor he was mentoring), gives us the right way to
answer the age-old question of how to care for our
aging parents and loved ones:

• Respect. Tender respect should be lavished on
those who are nearing the end of life’s race (1 Timothy
5:1-2). Dignity extended to a father who is struggling
with the effects of age and loving kindness shown to a
mother who can’t reciprocate reveals that one’s heart is
reflecting the very heart of God.

• Care. Helping to meet the spiritual, physical,
emotional, and social needs of an older loved one is
a part of a child’s “[repaying] their parent by taking
care of them” (v.4, also vv.3,5-7). It’s something that
God, who loves and cares for us so well, expects of His

The challenges and burdens of life can sometimes cause us to turn a blind eye
to the needs of our senior-citizen parents and other aging relatives. Paul states,
however, that busyness is no excuse for not being about the business of showing
them respect and care. When our reserves are low, we can seek help from
others and—best of all—pray to God for strength and wisdom in being truly
compassionate care-givers.

—Tom Felten

In Leviticus 19:32, God commands us to fear Him. What else does He
tell us to do in this verse?

How will you begin extending greater respect and care to the
aged loved ones in your family? Why does God expect you to provide
for them?