The Cost and Benefits of Caregiving

How we care for those suffering can indicate the health of our culture. 


John Stonestreet

Kasey Leander

According to the National Academy of Medicine, 17 million Americans care for an older parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor with medical limitations. It is costly, beautiful, and important work, especially as so many push to eliminate suffering by eliminating sufferers. 

There are, as a full-time caregiver put it recently, important lessons learned and blessings received in bearing each other’s burdens:  

Over the years, I have prayed many prayers for the people whom I’ve been entrusted to care for. But … more times than I can count, … the script has felt flipped, and it is I who walk away feeling tended, knowing I have received nurture, kindness, and patient love. 

Any culture in which the call to care for others lessens, and the pressure to eliminate the sufferer intensifies, becomes an impoverished culture. As theologian Stanley Hauerwas put it, “In 100 years, if Christians are known as those who do not kill their children or their elderly, we will have done well.” 


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