Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
W. H. Auden, in one of his poems, speaks of the human tendency to speak more favorably of “horizontal” people than of “vertical” ones. By the former he means persons lying in their graves, while the latter refers to the living ones who are still up and about. Usually more flowers, in a literal and figurative sense, are given to the dead than to the living.
In the “table of duties” section of his Ephesian letter, Saint Paul reminds children to honor their parents by obeying them. Faithful obedience honors fathers and mothers while they are still alive.
To speak words of commendation and to do deeds of kindness to faithful Christians is always in place. Saint Paul has words of praise in his epistles for the living “saints” in the congregations he addresses. In his words to the Philippians he recognizes an unnamed “loyal yokelfellow,” probably the spiritual leader. Euodia and Syntyche, temporarily on the “outs,” nevertheless drew the compliment that they “contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel” (Philippians 4:3). He said they did this “along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3). Are we following the apostle’s example with regard to recognizing and thanking faithful church members, teachers, pastors, and officers? Let us not wait with our commending words until it is time to write the obituaries.
Sometimes it is hardest to give deserved compliments to those nearest to us in the family. In the last chapter of his Romans epistle Saint Paul does not hesitate to give cordial greetings to several of his relatives who “were in Christ before I was” (Romans 16:7).
Giving honor to whom it is due is a good principle to follow. This is especially true in our relationship with the living Christ, whom we honor equally with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and to whom we owe special gratitude for giving His life that we might have eternal life, now and in the life to come.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, help me find words of commendation for those who faithfully serve Christ and His church. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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