I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I didn’t know that one of the Ten Commandments involved honoring your father and mother (Exodus 20.12).
If I had known of Paul’s teaching in Ephesians, I’m not sure I would have taken it to heart.
Ephesians 6.1-3 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” — this is the first commandment with a promise — “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Children don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. The same could be said for many teens and 20-somethings.
How can they be expected to adhere to the fifth commandment without the good guidance of loving parents?
The Role of Parents
Children have a responsibility and an opportunity to follow the direction of their parents. However, we all know that the majority of children won’t do this without significant help.
That’s where parents have a major responsibility.
Ephesians 6.4 – And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
As we fulfill our parenting role, parents are not to allow our behavior to provoke our children to anger. Instead, we are to bring them up with discipline.
Hebrews teaches, “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12.11).
A good coach or parent is willing to challenge those under their authority to do what they don’t want to do, so they can get what they all want to obtain.
Here are a few examples of discipline that may not be pleasurable, but will provide valuable long-term benefits.
— Making sure that school work is completed to the best of a student’s ability.
— Teaching a child a good work ethic.
— Making sure they show respect to others.
— Demanding kindness and generosity.
These are but a few “disciplines” that will benefit children their entire lives.
Let’s not forget that if we fail to discipline our children, then society will discipline them later in life.
Instruction in the Lord
The purpose of instruction is “to reach a God solution by the renewing of the mind.” This Biblical definition of instruction is emphasized by Paul.
— Romans 12.2 – Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Parents know that, even though we may want to, we can’t unscrew our children’s heads and correct their thinking.
My father believed that he could “fix” the thinking of my brother and me by lecturing us at the dinner table. I can tell you that my mother’s cooking was good, but the dinner conversation was often miserable.
What Dad didn’t give us with nightly lectures, he did provide through his example. I have several memories of how Dad behaved with courage, generosity, and integrity. His example served to “renew” my mind.
I suggest the best way to renew the minds of our children is to be the example of a “renewed” mind before them in daily living.
Going to Work
Paul instructed slaves to serve their masters as if they were serving Jesus.
Ephesians 6.5-8 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ,
Not with a slavery performed merely for looks, to please people, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the soul.
Render service with enthusiasm, as for the Lord and not for humans,
Knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are enslaved or free.
It has been said that the Roman Empire would not have been able to exist without the work of slaves.
There were many different types of slaves in the Empire and many of them were preferable to being a peasant. Slaves acted as business agents, tutors, managers, and household helpers.
Slaves in the mines and agriculture suffered the same tragic experiences as slaves in America’s history.
Today’s workers are not slaves, but we can apply Paul’s message to the way we approach work.
There is a central theme to Paul’s counsel.
— Verse 5 – Obey your earthly masters . . . as you obey Christ.
— Verse 7 – Render service with enthusiasm, as for the Lord and not for humans.
— Verse 8 – Knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord.
My friend, Rudy Ross, likes to say, “I work for Jesus.” Even though Rudy and his son are the owners of Fric & Frac, he knows that he primarily serves Jesus.
Joe Calhoon is an outstanding business consultant. I have repeatedly heard Joe tell participants in seminars to have a servant’s attitude toward their employer and workplace.
One of my friends has adopted this attitude toward work and has been named “Employee of the Year” several times.
Joe Calhoon advises employers to adopt Paul’s directions for masters.
Ephesians 6.9 – And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Lord in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.
As employers and employees adopt Jesus-kind-of-life behavior in the workplace, everyone wins, including the customers.
Modern Slavery in 2021
Here are some facts about human trafficking that should receive attention in our prayers. The statistics come from 2017 data.
Definition: Human trafficking is the practice of exploiting adults and children for use as commodities, or objects, in conditions of sexual and labor servitude.
— 24.9 million people are victims of forced labor.
— 16 million people are trafficked for forced labor in the private economy. (Private economy includes: private individuals, groups, or companies in all sectors except the commercial sex industry).
— 4.8 million people are trafficked for forced sexual exploitation.
— 4.1 million people are trafficked for forced labor in state-imposed forced labor.
I am recovering from COVID and I hope to join Rudy Ross very soon to produce YouTube videos on the Bible. You can find our videos on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. I am doing the video by myself today.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.