34. Children and Slaves.
Ephesians 6:1-9. “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have long life on the earth.” Fathers (or Parents), do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; Remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.” (NLT)
First, children. My takeaways from the passage concerning children are 1) that I am to teach our children (and grandchildren when I have the opportunity) the same things I want to learn myself. Basically, it is discipleship, learning about Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to make me more like Jesus. And 2) I am to treat my children the same way God treats me, with love and encouragement, but also with instruction and limits.
Second, slaves. I have read that many of the members of churches Paul visited were slaves. The slaves worshiped alongside of the freemen and were accepted as brothers and sisters in the Lord. All members of the church are first and foremost, slaves of Christ (v.6). I’m not going to get into the deeply troubling history of slavery here, but I think it is legitimate to apply the principles in this passage to my relationships with my employers. Paul’s instructions to slaves help me relate appropriately to my employers. As a slave of Christ, any other person with whom I interact will receive the respect and service that I wish to give to Christ, whether it is my employer, a family member, or a neighbor. (Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.”)
Father, please help me to serve others well, with the goal of pleasing You. Change my mindset so that I am intentionally serving You when I serve others. Amen.
From the personal devotional notes of Peggy McKechnie, certified life coach and follower after God’s own heart. You are invited to contact Peggy through ChurchHealthMinistries.com.