Growing Old Together

I don’t quarrel with my parents much. But I do often prick their hearts by grumbling about the country and how much I long to leave it to a “better place” somewhere. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.  

Lately, it seems more obvious that my dad is ageing. We are all growing older day by day but it seems that his physical appearance is changing quite a bit: he seems to be losing muscles on his limbs. Just a few days ago, he needed cushion to make him more comfortable when seated on the sofa. He now needs a walking stick too. 

While enjoying our afternoon tea just this afternoon, he choked on a “sunflower biscuit” (the name of the biscuit). The filling is too gooey for him. A mental note to self to pay more attention when bringing snacks or goodies home. 

God has commanded us to honour our parents. It is the 5th out of the 10 Commandments, and the first that talks about our relationships with others (while the first to the fourth commandments talk about our relationship with God). “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12, NIV)

We are to honour our parents regardless how old we are.

These incidents of noticing my father ageing make me realise that seeing your parents growing old can be a bittersweet experience: seeing them getting older, slower in movement, getting forgetful, weakening of eyesight or hearing and so on.

Nonetheless, it is also a privilege and a blessing. I am glad I did not leave the country and choose to remain by their side and accompany them in their old age.

The Joy of Feasting on “Vegetables”?

“Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17, NIV).

I had a picnic lunch with my buddy, Su Juan, today. We enjoyed the scenery, the melodic chirpings of the birds flying above us, and the soft and gentle breeze blowing on our faces.

As a full-time pastor, I realise what I eat and drink is important to optimise my health for ministry. What we eat and drink are important for our well-being but our attitudes when we are receiving our food are equally important. We may be having an abundant feast with the finest of food and in the grandest of place, but if we are not thankful for what we have, or if we do not get along with the people we are dining with, we will not enjoy the meal.

The next time we sit down together for a meal with our companions, thank the Lord for them. It may be a simple meal, it may be with your parents, it may be with your closest friends, it may be with your colleagues. It is the companionship that counts. Look them in the eyes. Pay attention to what they are saying. Show that you care. Minister to them.  Enjoy each other’s presence.

Life is short. We should treasure the people in our lives and appreciate them while we still can. Don’t take them for granted.

10 Ways to Honour Our Parents (Part 2)

This is the part 2 of “10 ways to honour our parents”.

In the previous post, we were looking at these 5 things we should do to honour our parents: (1) Treat them with respect, (2) appreciate them, (3) spend time with them and communicate with them, (4) speak your parents’ love language, (5) pray for them and with them. You can read the previous post here:

6.Make wise decisions and be responsible

Our parents spend a lot of time worrying about us although we may be all adults. Learning to make wise decisions and be a responsible adult will put them at ease and reassure them that we are capable of taking care of ourselves.

7.Provide for them and care for them

In his letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Apostle Paul reminded him that, Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

One of the ways that we can show our love to our parents is to care and provide for them both physically and financially so that they can live comfortably. Taking care of our parents’ needs honour them and pleases the heart of God.

As our parents grow, some examples of taking care of them are: driving them for groceries, take them to the doctor’s appointment, pay the bills, help them with errands and take more initiative to see what they need around the house.

8.Speak well of our parents and their generation publicly and privately

Honour our parents and their generation by speaking well of them. They are learning to be in touch with us through gadgets and technology, so if they are still struggling to get on Zoom, or are fumbling with WhatsApp, be patient with them and help them.

We are not honouring the older generations if we show our impatience and frustrations or use an irritated tone when talking with them. The way we talk to them is a reflection of the way we think about them.

9.Ask for their advice and seek their wisdom

Proverbs 1:8-9 tell us, Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck (NIV).

Our parents have gone through many experiences in life. They are able to guide us when we are at a crossroad in life or when we need to make important decisions.

When we ask our parents for advice, they will be pleased that we trust them and think highly of them to ask for their advices. It also shows that we are interested to know what they think and we want to learn from their wisdom. Of course, this is more applicable if your parents are Christians and are walking in God’s ways. But even if your parents are not believers, we can ask for their advices and use this as a reference point. Remember to seek the Lord and hear what He says.

Job also understood that wisdom is found among the older people. Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Job 12:12, NIV).

10. Enjoy them!

Our parents are human beings too. They have their short comings. Their personalities may be different from ours. They were also learning to raise us up when we first came into this world as babies. If we harbour resentment against them for their mistakes, ask God for forgiveness, healing and the courage to move on. Just enjoy them!

I am interested to hear from you about how you honour your parents. What would you add to this list? Which area do you need to work on to better honour your parents? May you be a blessing to them!

10 Ways to Honour Our Parents (Part 1)

With Father’s Day just around the corner (I understand that different countries celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on different days, but in Malaysia, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, and Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June), let’s pause for a moment and thank God for our fathers and for all that they have done for us. God had commanded us to “Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12, NIV). This commandment is the fifth one, and it is the first commandment regarding our relationship with others. The first four commandments are about our relationships to God.

The word “honour” (τίμα) is translated as: to determine the value of something. When we honour our parents, we are saying that they are so valuable in our eyes (as well as in God’s eyes).

How do we honour our parents? Here are 5 ways we can honour our parents (another 5 will be in the Part 2):

  1. Treat them with respect

When we show frustrations and resentments to our parents by our actions and speech, it shows that we are not grateful for all that they had done for us. Also, we are not respectful of the authority God has ordained to them.

They are one of the most important people to us. They deserve our respect in our actions, speech and behavior.

  1. Appreciate them

List down all the things that you appreciate about them. It can be the things they have done for you throughout the years, or what you love about them. Read the list to them on special occasions such as Parent’s Day, on their birthdays or on their wedding anniversaries. This activity reminds us to be grateful for all that they have done for us, making us the people we are today.

“Honour your father and mother” —which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).


  1. Spend time with them and communicate with them

Visit your parents as often as you can. My dad still visits his mother once a week before the lockdown. If you are living in another town or country, calling them on the phone or video call them regularly. Sometimes life gets the better of us and we neglect spending time with our parents. But your visit or your call is definitely a highlight for them. They can’t wait to hear from you!

God had created us for relationships, and the first relationships we had were with our parents. Show them that we care by asking them about their day, ask them questions about their childhood or younger days, talk about the topics of their interest and listen to them. Such conversations will deepen the bonds with our parents.

  1. Speak your parents’ love language

In his book, “The 5 Love Languages”, Gary Chapman listed five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. These love languages help to express and experience love between partners but I guess the same applies to our parents as well. Does your mother love to receive gifts? Does helping her with a chore bring her more delight? Does your father enjoy doing something together with you? Knowing your parents’ love languages will make them feel loved and appreciated.

  1. Pray for them (and with them)

Praying for our parents is one of the best gifts we can give them. Commit them into the loving hands of God. Pray for wisdom of the Lord to guide them in every decision they have to make. Pray for God’s peace and love to surround them. Pray also for protection for our aging parents as they may slip and fall.

Honouring our parents is our duty. Let’s do so with much joy and love. I will see you in the Part 2!