Jesus cared for his own mother. (Since there is no mention of his step-father, Joseph, in the Gospels, it is thought that he died while Jesus was young.) The Bible records that even while he was hanging upon the cross, Jesus provided for Mary’s needs. “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26, 27) 

In the Law, God commands us to honor our Father and Mother. (Exodus 20:12)  Leviticus 19:32 states, “give honor to the old, and let the fear of your God be before you: I am the Lord.” We should feel a sense of responsibility towards those who gave us life and sacrificed for us when we were young. We should respect the life they have lived and the difficulties they struggled through.

Jesus’ summary of the law is love for God and our fellow man. Jesus affirmed our specific responsibilities to our parents when he said, “But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have received from me is Corban,’ (that is, an offering to God) ‘you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You are destroying the word of God through your tradition…’ ” Mark 7:11 (ISV)

The Apostle Paul wrote about Christian responsibilities in 1Timothy 5:8  “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

However, applying these scriptures to our own circumstances can be difficult. Much would depend on the needs and the ability to meet those needs. Children would have the first responsibility to care for a parent. However, parents can not assume they will be cared for by the children.

Justice and the respect for each other’s decisions are important. Parents’ care may or may not involve bringing them into your home. It is healthy for aging people to live with as much independence as possible for as long as possible. However, if they were to come into your home, what kind of influence would this change bring? Are the elderly persons Christians? Are they are righteous persons? How would this impact the needs of others in the house, spouse and children? We have limited incomes that may not be able to take on the financial care of another without doing harm to those already dependent on us. Are there other options?

But maybe the elderly parent has 1) a true need, 2) is cooperative and loving, 3) is willing to help in some way to contribute to the household, and 4) the son or daughter has the means to provide. Then if they were to provide room in their home, they would be following Jesus’ example and learning the truth of the statement, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”