Perhaps one of the most important lessons being lost today is the responsibilities of the children in the family and in the diagram we have been looking at there is no evidence given that the children have any responsibilities. The reality is God has given every child two main responsibilities, the first is to follow the instructions of their parents and the second is to care for their parents in the elder years as they had been cared for by you in your young years.
1. Children have a responsibility to obey the instruction of their parents:
Of all the commandments given to us by God the one that comes with a promise is that of the commandment for children as we read in Eph. 6:1-3 ”Children, obey your parents because you are Christians. This is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother that everything may go well for you, and you may have a long life on earth.” This is an important commandment with a promise." we also see in Colossians 3:20 this truth about obedient children: "Children, always obey your parents. This is pleasing to the Lord." Obedience to your parents pleases the Lord and will bring you along life!
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2Tim. 3:1-5
The first elderly person I really got to know and love outside of my family was a lady I only knew as Mrs. Farmer. To this day I still do not know what her first name was. I could not have been more than 8 or 9 years old when I first wondered into Mrs. Farmer's yard. She did not live that far but a lot further than I would allow my own children to wander now. Mrs. Farmer knew all about me the moment she saw me. All I knew about her was that she was old, had a dog, and liked to take care of her flowers. Mrs. Farmer was my first elderly friend and she taught me a lot about life, though I did not know she would at the time. The first thing she taught me was all about her flowers. She taught me that some flowers started out as these little bulbs you would plant in the ground and some would start from seeds. We planted them all that first summer and we would sit out on her patio in the shade and watch them grow together.
As I got older we stayed friends and she was always on my list of places to visit. Eventually she got to where she could not keep up the yard so I would mow her yard for her and when her little dog died we were both sad together. We moved when I was in the 7th grade but it was not long until I was driving to see Mrs. Farmer. Unfortunately with no one to stay with her she was eventually moved into a nursing home on the hill above where we used to live. I would go every week to visit my old friend and read to her from God's word. It was her favorite thing to do when I would visit. It was not long into those visits I realized how sad a nursing home could be. One time they moved her from one room to another and they did not bother to move her Bible when they did or several other things of hers. I had to go and find them. Many people there did not have an advocate like Mrs. Farmer did and I learned that many were lonely. It was then I started what has been a lifelong habit of visiting folks in the nursing homes and hospitals.
Mrs. Farmer taught me many things but perhaps the one thing she taught me the most was the value of getting to know and love everyone no matter how young or old they are. In all the visits I have made over the years to the nursing homes I have yet to meet one person who told me that they had wished they had worked harder or longer here or there. They normally tell me of the good times they have had with family and friends over the years, we share some jokes and stories, and often I will read them their favorite Bible passages. Over the years the one thing that stands out the most is that the majority of them will go long spans of time with no visitors. Their family members are just too busy, too far, or just don't desire to visit them and so, too often than not, they die there with no more visitors than the occasional church member making rounds and the staff of the nursing home. Sadly, at least in America, the elderly are all too often sent off to a form of boarding school with others like them to which they never return home from.
It is often assumed today that when God said, “Honor your father and mother that everything may go well for you, and you may have a long life on earth.” that He placed some form of statutes of limitations. The truth is He did not. Whether you are 10, 25, 50, or 70+ the command to honor your father and mother never expires. Jesus Himself was concerned for the way the people were treating their parents in their aging years.
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And He continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God) then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
"Honor widows who have no families. The children or grandchildren of a widow must first learn to respect their own family by repaying their parents. This is pleasing in God’s sight.
A widow who has no family has placed her confidence in God by praying and asking for his help night and day. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead although she is still alive. Insist on these things so that widows will have good reputations. If anyone doesn’t take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
"Denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever." The care for orphans and widows has always been a main stay of the Christian faith. So much so that the book of James states that the only pure religion is that which cares for the orphans and widows and keeps oneself pure from the world. How much more important then is it that we care as much for the members of our own household? Apparently to God it is of the utmost importance and is a measuring rod of the type of person you truly are.
New Day Christian Ministry
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