29 Sept. Ephesians 6:1-9

29 Sept. The secrets of a happy family life

"Children, obey your parents as the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do. The command says. 'Honour your father and mother.' [Exodus 20:12] This is the first command that has a promise with it - 'Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth'." [Exodus 20:12]

"Fathers, do not make your children angry, but raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord."

"Slaves, obey your masters here on earth with fear and respect and from a sincere heart, just as you obey Christ. You must do this not only while they are watching you, to please them. With all your heart you must do what God wants as people who are obeying Christ... "

"Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women. Remember that the Lord will give a reward to everyone, slave or free, for doing good."

"Masters, in the same way, be good to your slaves. Do not threaten them. Remember that the one who is your Master and their Master is in heaven, and he treats everyone alike."

          (Ephesians 6:1-9)

 

 

Paul was writing at a time when slavery was commonplace and taken for granted. But it's interesting to note that his comments about how to treat slaves are made in the context of successful family relationships - how to treat your wife, your husband, your children, your slaves. That's because, in Paul's day, slaves were considered to be part of the family.

So all of Paul's comments here refer to happy family living - and they all have the same theme as yesterday's reading about married life - namely, having respect for others.

The key to happy family living, says Paul, is thinking about others; respecting the needs of others and fitting in with their likes and dislikes.

Once again, if we follow Christ's example, we will live a life of selfless love. If we don't, our lives will revolve entirely around our own needs, and we will be selfish children who grow into selfish adults. Our only aim in life will be me, me, me,

Of course, we have to be taught this as a child. So Paul tells fathers, "raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4). And that involves having respect for others - including your parents.

Children are naturally selfish. But no one likes a selfish child who gets his or her own way all the time, and who frequently dishonours their parents by ignoring their requests.

Instead, Paul advises children to "obey your parents as the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do. The command says. 'Honour your father and mother... Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth'." (Ephesians 6:1-2)

"Obey" is not a popular word today, and these days Paul may have said, "Make sure you follow your parents' requests."

But the meaning and the outcome are the same. The end result of all this - whether as a wife, a husband, a parent, a child (or, in Paul's day, a slave) - is to become more Christ-like, less selfish and more selfless.

The photo (taken in Mell Square, Solihull, UK) shows a bronze sculpture of a happy family.

You can read more from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/15-pauls-le…/the-new-life/


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