Many of us are already living out Sirach’s exhortation. In fact, statistics show that in many developed countries, 20 percent of the population is caring for ill, disabled, or aged family members.
We read this passage from Sirach on the feast of the Holy Family because it speaks to all of our families in a surprising way. It tells us that caring for an elderly family member brings unexpected blessings: forgiveness of sins, spiritual treasures, joy, answered prayers, even long life. Yes, it can be a burden at times, but the blessings far outweigh the burden.
Taking care of our parents does a lot for us spiritually. We see God’s self-giving love growing in us. As we walk with them in their later years, we find that we are also walking closer to the Lord.
Blessing might not be the first thing you think of though. The idea of being a caregiver can be scary. Financial concerns, emotional strain, and burnout are real issues.
But the same study referred to previously also shows that more than 80 percent of caregivers report that the experience is rewarding. They feel satisfaction from giving back to someone who sacrificed for them, they know they’re providing quality care, and they feel increased meaning and purpose in life.
If you are currently caring for an elderly loved one, take heart! God is pleased by your efforts and is pouring out grace on you. If you are on the receiving end, know that you are a blessing to your loved ones. If you anticipate a time when you will need to do more for your parents, don’t worry. Everything you do to honour and care for them will bless you.