Now, this is a followup to yesterday’s post. A little recap. Paul has been advising us to live wisely. He then talked about wives and husbands. Now he moves onto children, parents and slaves.
Now, why to slave matter now? Chattel slavery is illegal — since 1833 in th e Commonwealth. The simple answer is that many of us are totally dependant on our wages to live. We have no assets. We are wage slaves (or debt slaves), without no option to obey our employer, regardless of his orders.
If you cannot tell your boss to FOAD, you are not free.
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.”
4And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; 6not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, 8knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.
9And, 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.
Let’s consider the parenting pattern first, for this is like all the other passages. First of all, parenting is difficult. It is borne in pain. (Hat tip Sis). Children are to obey their parents — and the heartache for mothers and fathers when that does not happen — or they do something foolish (like sext) and it becomes public. . And Parents are not to provoke.
The principle is there: the person with responsibility has power. And only with power can you be gentle: only with power can you show mercy. So if you have power, be like Christ. Be gentle, be merciful.
But servants, employees, are to serve Christ. And when the orders are illegal or immoral, you are to serve Christ. THere is a point where we do not cheerfully comply, but we cheerfully disobey.
Because it is more important to obey God than man. And if we do that, we can expect to be sacked, sacked without a reference: we can expect to be shamed, and we can expect to be coerced in compliance.
And I must tell you to accept the shame, the shunning, the pressure. Because if you do not you are then not serving God: you are now part of the problem. I’ve seen too many Hanover Finances, Enron, and I have seen people caught up in the mess. Because they were team players. Because they did not see the limits here.
We are to act wisely, not blindly. Paul gives us illustrations and teaching on how wer should act. He also called out the High Priest when he ordered him to be beaten, and it is said that he turned the world of Asia Minor around. He was no doormat. And with the spirit guiding him, he was able to be wise.