There is a very wrong teaching that classifies vocations into spiritual and secular. The spiritual ones means those in full time church ministry and the secular ones are those outside. There is no such thing as a spiritual or seculara vocation. The 'spirituality' of our vocation lies in how we do it. A pastor could be very secular in his job as a pastor if he is more concern about his reputation and achieving his own freshly objectives than the people under his charge. A waitress on the other hand can be very spiritual in her work if she does it well to serve the customers for the Lord. This is what Paul is teahing us here. As salt and light of the world, how is Christian different from the other.
The Principle - Submitting One to Another in Respect of God
The underlining principle for all relationships is given in Eph 5:21 (GNB) Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ. We must first submit to Christ and then we can submit one to anther. Wife to submit to husband as unto the Lord. Husband to love wife as Christ loved the Christ. Christ is 1st and the reference point. If there be any problem, it is lack of commitment to Christ as the root. Submitting is discussed in detail in Submitting - Biblical vs Secular View . The posting also cover the roles and relationships and is not repeated.
Wife - Husband Roles & Relationship
Wives are always mentioned first in the Bible to submit to their husbands. In most area, man takes the lead, but in this area, wife taks the lead! The submission should be in everything. It is a matter of attitude and heart tha wife does so naturally. Submission is shown in respect first. Without respect, it is difficult to submit. Husband will value wife's opinions and respect most as she is the closest person to him. Wife holds the key to her husband's confidence and self-respect. Wife holds the success of her husband in her hand! Wife can and should, even if she is more capable (in certain areas and never all), to help and to encourage and to promote her husband. She can help make a husband wiser and more confidence in making decisions and taking the lead in home and then his career and life in general. I think I agree with the statement behind every successful man lies a great wife. A man becomes more capable when her wife gives him the respect due. Wife should participate in helping her husband make good decisions by giving additional view points and scenarios for the different choices.
In a similar vein, husband holds the secret to the beauty, both internally and externally, of his wife! He does so by loving his wife as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:25-27 no spot, wrinke, holy, no blemish!) A loved wife will show forth joy and beauty from within.
Other references to wife-husband relationship can be seen in Col 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Wife submission brings blessings to her too.
Children-Parents Roles & Relationship
Here again, the 'obeyee' has the initiative and should take the initiative. Love cannot be forced. Christ can and have offer His love to us. It is up to us to take the action to receive His love. Instruction has been given, the child can response with obedient action. The parents cannot force it out of them - that will not be willingness and will resulted in rebellion later when the child has more independence. Honoring parents can only be encouraged and cannot be forced too. Here is a wonderful promise of blessings for Children that honor their Parents - all will go well and live a long life on earth.
The right way to bring up Children is given in 6:4, not provoke them to wrath (to anger and then rebellion later), but in nurturing and admonition of the Lord.
There are two points:
- A DO NOT - provoke the children.
- A MUST DO - nurture them in the biblical values.
Here are a few examples:
- Breaking promises made.
- Being a hypocrite. Not walking their talk. They say one thing and do another.
- Being a tyrant - must do exactly as I say or else. Not showing love and concern. Not explaining the reasons for demanding such behavior.
- Not showing care, giving respect to the children opinions and wishes. Not really listening to the children.
- Not showing love for one another. Quarrel and fight in front of children.
- ... can you add some more into the list?
The nurturing takes more effort and time than just "Father say so". It is a process of training and discipline. It is about telling the child in advance of the various consequences of possible choices and then letting the child make the choice, and then, very important, follow-up on the consequences of the decision. e.g. telling the child to come to eat at dinner time and taking away the food if the child did not come to eat by certain time should be executed faithfully. If the child did not show up for dinner and get hungry by 9pm asking for food, the parent should tell the child to go hungry till next morning for breakfast. Most parent just give in to child and prepare food for the child if he or she is hungry. The parents just teach the child that what the parents have said earlier are not true. The rules are not for real. Parents can forgive but Society at large does not.
Employees-Bosses Roles & Relationship
Worldly view sees employees and bosses as dividing the pie of revenues. Less to the Employees means more for the Bosses. Biblical view shows that any business is one - employees+bosses. They shared the common objective of giving values to the customers and revenue to their business. Employees are to work for the Lord, giving their best in serving the customers, and not under compulsion of fears and threats and monitoring. Bosses should see the value of their employees and seek to take care of their welfare as all belong to Christ. For employees, we worked for Christ heartily, irrespectively of the good or bad bosses. There is great promise here. Eph 6:8, we will receive the good thing done from the Lord! If your boss is not paying you the right salary you deserve, someone else is likely to offer you more to take you away. But in the meantime, give of your best as to the Lord.
Questions for Reflection
1. What is the Principle on Submission?
2. How should one behave, the spiritual behavior, in the roles of Husband-wife, Parent-Children, Bosses-Staff?