Children, fathers, servants, masters… each group is addressed in order.
For the children, they’re encouraged to honor their father and mother knowing that there is a promise attached to it, “so you will live well and have a long life.” Simple enough, right?
“Fathers, don’t frustrate your children with no-win scenarios.” An interesting command, isn’t it? First, it’s interesting because the mothers don’t get called out on any behaviors, nor are they given any commands. Just dads. Second, it’s interesting because that seems like an obscure request. But the more you think about it, the more you see it’s actually a pretty common problem. Dads can give irrational commands to their kids when they get frustrated with them. They can contradict themselves. They can have unreasonable expectations. They can get in a hurry and give impossible instructions. From the child’s perspective, they just need a simple, clear command to follow. And they need someone to deliver that in a concise and polite way, so they can hear it and do it. It’s that simple. There’s a saying I’ve heard many times, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” But I think it’s just as true on the flip side, “If Daddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Dads can make or break their kids, and when they create no-win scenarios, it breaks them.
Now, the word “servants,” at least in this context, could be easily swapped for “employees.” Servants/employees are encouraged in this section to work heartily, to work with a smile on their faces, reminded that no matter who is giving the orders, it is really God who is in charge. It is God who we are serving in our labor. Such a great reminder! And to steal a verse from Proverbs, “See a man who excels in his work; that man will stand before kings.”
Finally, masters, aka bosses, no abuse and no threats. Your master in heaven makes no distinction between you and your workers/employees. You’re all on a level playing field before God. That’s a big deal.
So if you’re a child, a father, a servant/employee, or a master/boss, there’s something in here for you. I wear all of those hats actually, so I really had to listen up and pay attention.
We’ll close out Ephesians with the next entry.