Brian L. De Jong
Reviewed by: Paul Mourreale
Date posted: 04/08/2018
Honoring the Elderly: A Christian’s Duty to Aging Parents, by Brian L. De Jong. CreateSpace, 2017. Paperback, 136 pages, $9.99. Reviewed by OPC pastor Paul Mourreale.
A few years ago, during a visit to my parents, I realized they were getting older. My father had just been diagnosed with cancer. I could see that my parents were beginning to look worn out. At that moment, I began to become more aware of the fact that my parents were going to need increasing amounts of help.
This is not, of course, a problem that is unique to my family. There have been, over the years, great advancements in modern medicine. Illnesses that used to be fatal are now often treatable, so as people live longer, children will need to find ways to care for their aging parents.
Families have a duty before God to care for their own (1 Tim. 5:8). We see this principle in the fifth commandment, Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” As followers of Jesus, we have a duty and a privilege to honor and care for our parents as they age.
But how do we fulfill our duty to our parents in this day and age? Many of us, for instance, live quite a distance from our parents. How can we adequately care for them when we live so far away? What about those who need around-the-clock care that we are not equipped to handle? How can the Christian be faithful to God’s commandment to honor our parents in a world where it is becoming seemingly more difficult to do so?
It is for us in this modern world, full of these kinds of challenges, that Brian L. De Jong has produced a helpful resource for the church, Honoring the Elderly: A Christian’s Duty to Aging Parents. This wonderful little book, which began as a series of Sunday school lessons, presents a pastoral tone throughout. De Jong carefully lays out biblical principles and their application in real life. Each chapter contains pastoral advice and applied biblical teaching as De Jong deals with difficult situations that come up. At the end of each chapter, there are a series of questions to ponder, which would make this book ideal for a Sunday school text or a small-group study. Whether your parents are young or old, healthy or sick, you will glean great wisdom from this book.
At some point, all of us will find ourselves faced with caring for our elders—whether our own parents or a dear older saint in the church. How are we going to respond to these challenges and honor our elders as they age? This is a very important topic for us to consider.