Monday, 21 August 2023
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people …” -Ephesians 6:7
To the growing church in Ephesus, Paul writes this epistle in order to get their bearings right in their Christian faith and walk. In a series of exhortations starting from Ephesians 5: 1 (Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children…), he gives practical working out of that principle for the church and the Christian household. How must Christians conduct themselves in a pagan society? This is of prime relevance as the world around them will know that they are different because of the Lord and Master they follow.
In today’s reading, Paul addresses four important groups in the society on their conduct:
1. Children 2. Parents (fathers in particular) 3. Employer 4. Employee.
All of us reading the scripture today fall into one or more of the above categories and how we play our roles depend on who leads us or rather who instructs us.
· Children: obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right
Obedience in children is on the decline these days. Here Paul exhorts the children to obey because they are “in the Lord.”—even when it is difficult to obey if parents aren’t saved. If you are a child following the Lord Jesus Christ, there must be a marked difference between you who follow Him and others who don’t. And this is to be reflected in your attitude and approach towards your parents. Think: How is your obedience towards them? –Is it immediate or delayed? It’s said that delayed obedience is disobedience. Always remember the obedient are rewarded- God promises the obedient children a long and a blessed life! ( V.3)
· Fathers: do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Where are the godly fathers these days? We have intelligent, educated, logical and realistic dads who would argue how these instructions laid down are ancient. But the calling over Christian dads is very serious. God calls them “to bring up children in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Paul advises fathers (parents too) not to follow the parenting pattern of the world, imposing on them rules and regulation so they could excel in this world. Rather he expects them to receive from the Lord and be an example of the Heavenly Father to them. It is of utmost need for parents to emphasize the importance of Matthew 6:33- “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things [everything we need in life] will be given to you as well.
· Slaves [“Employees”-present day]: obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart
The call is to obey our authorities just as would we would obey Christ (V.5). Sometimes they are tough and harsh and might not deserve our honor or appreciation, yet God tells to show all respect so that God’s name and the teaching you’ve received may not be slandered (1Timothy 6:1). God expects us to remember at all times that it is Him we are serving (Col. 3:24) and that our reward is not from man but from God (Eph. 6:7).
· Masters: treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them...
Very often masters forget that they are watched by a Greater Master and hence use the positions for their own benefit because their hearts are far from God. Treat those under you kindly. Masters are called to remember that they have to give an account of their behavior to their Heavenly Master (Col. 4:1). Jesus our Master through his life showed the world how a leader/ master needs to be— servant-leadership! Are you reflecting your Master’s style in your positions of authority?
May we too become examples of those who follow the LORD - Whom we follow and serve will determine what we do!
Think on: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)