This can be a tricky question because circumstances can alter the responsibility of a child to help care for their father and mother.  I am assuming that you are asking about an adult child and the parent.  Let’s begin by reading Matthew 15:1-5, “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me.” 

When confronted by the religious leaders of His day, the Lord was challenged about His disciples transgressing ‘the tradition of the elders’ by not washing their hands before eating.  Instead of entering into an argument with these men over traditions, the Lord asked them about something far more important.  The Law had commanded everyone to honor their father and mother.  Yet, these men would count it as a gift whenever they gave things to their father or mother.  They saw no responsibility towards them at all and felt like they were gifting them with any act of kindness. 

To honor our father and mother means to prize and revere those who gave us life and raised us.  This honor may include, among other things, helping to maintain them when they are reduced in health, and may not be able to support themselves sufficiently.  This may include supporting them financially and giving of our time to help take care of them if they cannot care for themselves…things such as, cooking, cleaning, yard maintenance, etc. 

Let us consider the words of 1 Timothy 5:3-5, “Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”  This concerns a mother who has been widowed.  If she has needs that she cannot meet, her children or even her nephews (or possibly grandchildren), should assume the responsibility of ministering to the needs of this helpless one.  To ‘requite’ means to pay back.  How could we ever fully reimburse our parents for all they have done for us?

However, we read that “…if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  If a man has good health and can still work to provide for his family, he should do that.  He should not be dependent upon others to provide for him when he can still provide for himself and his family. 

It is a precious and godly act when a child loves and appreciates his mother and father and seeks to help them meet their needs.  This could be as simple as helping to clean their house to as great as taking them into their own homes and assuming full care for them.  To honor your father and mother enough to ‘do what it takes’ to make sure they are well cared for brings great honor to the Lord. 

Helping to take care of your father and mother is only one way to honor them.  We should honor them in every aspect and be thankful for them.  If you take on extra tasks in meeting the needs of your father and mother, let me remind you of the words of Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”  (CC)  (542.6)