Rewards

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today’s verses continue Paul’s dialogue concerning slaves and masters.  However, if we are to just look at these two verses they say a lot about how we should live our lives at all times – whether for an employer, a friend, family, a neighbor, a stranger.

With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Praises from my boss are only temporary – praises from the Lord are eternal.  The Lord rewards us!

This verse gives me a very interesting thought:  How often do I consciously think and do things with the thought that the Lord will reward me for it in heaven?  If I am not thinking this way, my focus is wrong.  In all honesty - My focus has been wrong.

More thoughts:

  • In my work – have an eternal perspective.  Put my focus on heaven.
  • My relationship with Christ should make me the best employee on the job!
  • People who bring contention in the work place may be believers, but they are believers not under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Share your thoughts!

Work

Today’s verses are related to work – work between slaves and masters.  When Paul wrote this text slavery was an accepted institution in the Roman World – where an estimated 1/3 to 1/2 of the population were slaves. If 1/2 of the population were slaves – the estimates are that this could have been anywhere between 6 to 60 million people.    Paul demonstrated through these verses how Christ can radically change the way we relate to one another. 

Today – every commentary and reading use these verses in relation to employers and employees. 

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

What did I see in these verses that affect me today:

  • Obviously Paul is speaking to believers who were slaves.  It is not in our human nature to respond with obedience. Our flesh cries out for “self.”   
  • I serve Christ.  My service, my work is to be “with the sincerity of my heart.”  It is to be real.
  •  As I work, I am to be doing the will of God?
  • A slave had to serve their master with their whole being – they couldn’t do it halfheartedly.  I need to always work this way also.  I need to work as hard as I can whether my boss is present or not.  I do not need to be giving him eye-service.  I need to realize that Christ is watching and knows.

Family reality

Happy day after Easter!

10177459_10201690818298831_1203300992100081664_nIf you will remember back to our last week of  study in Ephesians, we were discussing husbands and wives.  Today we are going to talk about the family unit with children.

My desire is to be a family that operates the way God said it ought to operate.

Ephesians 6:1-4 says : Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Some things I see:

  • Children have a responsibility to obey their parents.
  • Do you know what the Greek word for “children” is (in this verse)?  It is teknon – which refers to the offspring of a couple – it isn’t referring to just a young child but anyone who was still in their parents home, under the financial care of the parents.
  • Children…..if you are still letting Mama and Daddy foot the bills, then this verse applies to you – no matter your age.
  • It doesn’t say that children are to submit to their parents.  The word obey is showing a different type of relationship. In the family dynamic, children are inferior in authority to mom and dad.

As I read these verses – I realized that a lot of families can have an awesome wife who is submitting to her husband and a husband who is loving his wife as Christ loved the church – but then they have a child that is thumbing their nose and their responsibility OR parents who aren’t requiring it.  And that means that this particular family is not living as God instructed. Spiritually Dysfunctional.  Wow – how does this affect my family?

In reality, not only are children to obey – we are also to Honor (I love how Paul is reminding us of the commandments!)  Children can obey because of fear of punishment, etc.  But to honor – that is all about our attitudes.

Our attitudes are affected greatly but allowing God to change my heart and perspectives.

The word for honor is timao. The word means to esteem, to value highly, to hold in the highest regard and respect, treat as precious and to revere.   I am no longer under my parents rule.  My family is financially stable and I am part of a family unit with my own children. I am stilled called to honor my parents.

And then an interesting verse four:

“And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

God really does put a huge burden upon men in the family?  Not only are you to love your wives as Christ loved the church, but you are not to provoke your children to anger. So the heavy burden is not on the wife. The heavy burden is on the man, the husband, the father in the family.

Fathers, will stand before God one day for whether or not they provoked their children to anger. God gives a standard here. It is high, very high, and only attainable by being filled with the Spirit of God.  Our children aren’t perfect and neither are dads.  Sometimes dads are going to provoke their children – quickly ask for forgiveness and do not make this a lifestyle choice.

Let me tell you, Dads, until you get serious with God, until you get on your face before Him, until you are willing to obey Him in every area of your life, you run the risk of pushing your child into a state of deep-seated emotional anger.

Now you might say: I am a father and I don’t want to provoke my children to anger. You are talking about putting on a brand new garment, a brand new way of behavior.  We have talked about this garment through the last several chapters of Ephesians!  See how it all works together?

And to finish today’s lesson (take from a commentary…)

 ……. but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

The word “discipline” is not a bad word. It is the word paideia. It means child training, to bring up a child.

“…and instruction of the Lord.”

The word for “instruction” is the Greek word nouthesia. It comes from the word noutheteo, which means to help a person by placing into their mind things that will benefit them. In other words, you are not just setting rules. You are explaining those things and you are putting them in the context of their relationship to God. You are giving them information that will help them down the road.

Fathers DO NOT NEED TO BE WAITING ON THE MOTHER to discipline and instruct their children.  Dad, it is your responsibility to be the spiritual instructor and the spiritual leader of your family. Don’t blame the church! If your child is not doing well, Dad, where are you missing it?

Celebrate!!!

I  fully admitted to my Growth group on Wednesday night that I have had a hard time “drawing near” to Christ this week.  On Holy Week of all things.  And my heart really has hurt about this.  I mean this week I am supposed to be somber, sullen, reflective, worried, sad, and all of these random emotions that really reflect the fact that I am supposed to remembering and honoring – preparing my heart for the crucifixion.

 And this year, I just haven’t gotten that feeling…. And you know why?

Because my heart wants to celebrate.  I know the tomb is empty.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  And I know the celebration that is coming on Sunday! 

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Through an intense study of Paul’s life this year, my heart has gravitated towards people.  The reason Jesus came to us.  The reason Jesus did all that he did.  It is because of people!!!   I read a blog post last night from Margaret Feinberg and she summed up my feelings perfect!    She basically said that not only will we celebrate on Sunday and because of Sunday but God’s got thisall the way to the end!  Sunday is just the beginning!  She says, “ There will come a day when you and I will spend afternoons swimming in the river of life and snacking on fruit from the tree of life (Revelation 22:1-5). We’ll share stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness—the aha! moments of how He had been working in and through our lives all along.

It makes me want to celebrate and sing and be joyful and grateful!!! 

He is….Redeemer, Savior, True Love, Faithful, Perfect, Healer, Almighty,  Amazing, Beautiful, Merciful, Everything, Peace, Lord, The Word, The Blessing, Real, The Promised Fulfilled, Salvation,  Shepherd, Holy and The RISEN GOD!!!!