Daily Devotion 1st September

Ephesians 6: 1-4  

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honour your father and mother’—this is the first commandment with a promise:  ‘so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Reflection

As we are reminded, this is the only Commandment which comes with a promise of a good if it is obeyed. Others of course come with a warning and still others are stated baldly as being somewhat obvious.

The author of Ephesians extends this Commandment from “honour” to “obey” and introduces a counterpart obligation on fathers, with perhaps the promise of a long life for both parent and child. There is no mention of mothers, so perhaps the unstated assumption is that the father is responsible for ensuring the good behaviour of the child whereas the unconditional mother love for the child she bore encompasses and ensures its general welfare, so no reward is necessary. As for the child, obeying probably leads to a quieter life all round.

Of course, there is that word “discipline”. Down the years many a father has interpreted this in the light of the aphorism “spare the rod and spoil the child”. But surely that goes against the extended requirement not to provoke the child to anger. Ignoring this has resulted in many a life being blighted by the smouldering anger of resentment built up against a harsh (but not necessarily cruel) father who no doubt felt he was acting in the best interests of the child in the long run.

Society has moved on and it is thankfully not now acceptable to discipline a child harshly either physically or mentally.

But that word discipline remains.

We as a denomination are engaging in Walking the Way – the way of discipleship. Same root. Discipline: discipleship: discipling. Which should be our priority? Fathers (and mothers) what can you do better than try to disciple your children by and in your life so that their days (and yours) may be long on the earth. A good for all.

 

 

Prayer

Father God and Mother God
help us to treat our children
and the children of others
with respect
so that in our lives
and in our behaviour
we may provoke them
to catch discipleship
from us.
Amen.

 

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Ron Reid is a retired minister in the Mersey Synod serving as Link Minister at Rock Chapel, Farndon.  He is a member at Upton-by-Chester URC

Bible Version

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

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