Honor your father and mother (remember, this is a commandment of the Lord your God); if you do so, you shall have a long prosperous life in the land he is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (TLB)
The command God gave his people to honor our mother and father is the only one with a promise…that it may go well with you.
At it’s basis, this command deals with the care of our aging parents. We are to respect and honor our parents at all times, but especially as they age and become more dependent on us as their children.
In many societies the care of the elderly is a group effort. Everyone pitches in as they can to help provide for the needs of those who have reached a stage in life where they can no longer do for themselves.
The younger generation goes beyond the boundaries of their own personal relations knowing in time, when they are unable to care for themselves, others will come alongside and assist them. It is a perpetual circle of honoring, respecting, and caring for those who need assistance.
With the mobility of our society, more times than not, families are spread across the country and across the world. Rare is the family that stays in the same geographic location their entire life.
With mobility comes distance and that distance often makes it difficult for children to take the kind of care necessary to assist and provide for their aging parents.
In my family, my parents retired to southeast Georgia to care for my mother’s parents. In doing so, they moved away from my sister, brother, and me and our families. My sister and her family now live in central Florida. My brother and his family remained in Maryland. My family and I now live in south Texas.
This arrangement wasn’t the easiest, none was it the best of situations. Fortunately, my parent’s church family stepped up and provided when we couldn’t.
Is this command only for those of us with parents? Or is it broader than that?
The Bible tells us to take care of the widows, orphans, and those who are weak.
That command goes beyond our family members. God’s concern for his people is much wider. We are called to care for those who are more dependent and in need of assistance. Whatever that may look like.
As the day of celebrating our fathers approaches, honor them by all means. But don’t stop there. We need to look around us and identify those in society who are having a difficult time and ask ourselves, is there anything we can do to help meet their needs and lighten their load?
If we are honest, I believe our answer will be a definite Yes.
I wish you well.