Some think that it is primarily the government’s or the church’s responsibility to care for those in need. I have seen church members, who were able to relieve a family member in need, refuse to do so themselves, but instead turn to the church.
However, consider the responsibility that God has placed on the family. Proverbs 17:17b reads, “A brother is born for adversity.” Think of Joseph. He told his brothers, “I will provide for you and your little ones” (Genesis 50:21). Children are a defense for aging parents. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth… They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:4-5). The gate was the place of legal transactions (Deuteronomy 16:18; 21:18-20; Joshua 20:4; Ruth 4:1-2, 11; Proverbs 22:22). Children are to protect their parents from being wronged or taken advantage of in their old age. Matthew Henry commented, “The family that has a large stock of children is like a quiver full of arrows, of different sizes we may suppose, but all of use one time or other; children of different capacities and inclinations may be several ways serviceable to the family.” Paul instructed, “If any widow has children or grandchildren let them first show piety at home and repay their parents… if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.. if any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows” (1 Timothy 5:4, 8, 16).