Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Honoring aging parents

Do you have aging parents? 

It honors God to honor them. 

How will you invest your time, talent, and treasure in caring for them? 

Watch out for the temptation to use the "I can't come to see you because I'm really busy serving God" excuse or the "I can't help you financially much because I'm giving to God" excuse. That's the height of hypocrisy. 

In Matthew 15, we learn that honoring aging parents demonstrates that our hearts are close to God's heart. Jesus cares about justice and mercy for the aging. 

And Jesus has harsh words for those who self-righteously use religious obligations as loopholes to limit their responsibilities to love mercy and do justice to their moms and dads. 

 1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat."
3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
4 For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'
5 But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, "What you would have gained from me is given to God,"
6 he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
8 "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 
9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
From Matthew 15

We dare not use God as an excuse for our laziness, self-centeredness, and greed. 

Three commentaries on Matthew 15:1-9 say: 

"Honor (tima) is a term includes the idea of assistance and support, as in 1 Timothy 5:3. In God"s view honor to parents is not shown only in outward words, obedience, and respect, but also in material assistance, help provided for their needs, and financial gifts freely bestowed when necessary." [PULPIT]

"Honor your father and mother means not only respect and submission, but also support (Exodus 20:12; Exodua 21:17; Deuteronomy 5:16;  Deuteronomy 27:16; Proverbs 23:22; 1 Timothy 5:17)." [DAKE]

"Honor your father and mother is an eternal obligation. It is to be understood to refer not merely to the high esteem children are to give their parents, but also of the honor children are to provide by feeding, clothing, and supplying parents with the necessaries of life when the parents are in need. This is a reasonable service for children to provide for all the care, expense, and trouble the parents have provided in bringing the children. [GILL] 

So, how might you increase your level of honor to your aging parents today?

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