October 21, 2015

Honoring Parents

Proverbs 23:15-25

Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother is a child who brings shame and disgrace. . . . A man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

—  Proverbs 19:26; 23:24

The way a society or culture treats its aging members says a lot about its values and compassion. Throughout Proverbs we read admonitions as well as encouragements about honoring parents. Followers of Jesus want to be among the wise children obeying the command “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Whether living in their own homes, or with their children, or in retirement centers, aging parents need their children’s loving care. The writers of Proverbs knew nothing about pension plans or retirement homes. Parents lived with their children, and the family income provided for them. Robbing one’s father or driving out one’s mother would be the equivalent of spending dad’s pension on fishing trips or abandoning mom to fend for herself. Shameful!

Mark 7:9-13 records Jesus’ strong rebuke for adult children who hypocritically claimed doing honorable things while aging parents suffered neglect or abuse.

What a difference it makes when parents can delight in the caring love of their adult children, having their needs met and enjoying regular contact. With Christ’s wisdom to guide us, and in the strength of his Spirit living in us, we can honor our parents as God calls us to.

Father, thank you for parents whom we can honor by caring for them in many different ways. Give us insight on how we can do so, to your glory. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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