Monday, February 28, 2011

Ephesians 6:1-9

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"--this is the first commandment with a promise: 3 "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." 4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; 6 not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, 8 knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free. 9 And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

Questions to consider:
  • Why should children honor their father and mother?
  • What is special about that commandment?
  • Do you think that any part of this passage is "revolutionary" or contrary to popular standards of the time?
  • Is a master greater than his or her servant? Why?

Possibilities for prayer:

As we heard on Sunday (if you weren't able to be there, listen to the sermon here), contrary to the way that this chunk of Scripture (starting back at the end of Chapter 5) has been commonly interpreted, much of the way that this passage is written is more empowering than you might guess. The author not only explicitly addresses the children and the slaves, therefore giving them a voice, and even a choice in the way they decide to live. It is not assumed that they will do things, but they are addressed and encouraged to live in this way. Paul even explicitly states that God is not partial.

While our society does not have the blatant system of slavery prevalent at the time that this passage was written, we are likely all guilty of thinking ourselves better than another or wondering why or how God could love someone else despite all their shortcomings. Today, let's praise God for impartiality--for the fact that we are loved just as much as the next person, and ask God for the ability to extend that kind of impartial love to those we encounter.