Reflections: Thursday of the Second Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Table of Duties:To Parents

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 44:1-16, 23-29; Romans 9:1-18

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Holy Scripture addresses parents, this is not just parenting advice.  If you want a book to make you a better parent, there are whole shelves of parenting books at the local bookstore, and blogs and podcasts all over the place online.  Scripture’s goal isn’t to make you a better parent, but Scripture is concerned about making you a better Christian.  For those who are called to be parents, that includes making them Christian parents.  Therefore, this command isn’t about consequences or discipline or routines or consistency.  This is about parents providing their children discipline and instruction in the Lord.  Parents are called to teach their children faith in Jesus.  

This is important, even for people that haven’t been called to be parents now.  Whatever callings you have are callings to do what you do as a Christian.  You are called not only to be a high school student, but to be a Christian high school student.  You aren’t only an employee, but a Christian employee.  You aren’t just a friend, but a Christian friend.  You aren’t only a son or a daughter, but a Christian son or daughter.  In all things, Jesus is the focus.  This isn’t merely to say that you are called to make other people Christian by any means necessary, but to live out your faith in Jesus Christ in a way that bears witness to the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  

As your parents serve you in Christ, providing instruction and discipline in the Lord, listen to them.  Receive their discipline and encouragement as from the Lord, since He is the One who commanded it.  Where you have opportunities to serve others in Christ, do that.  Life as a Christian student and friend, son or daughter, employee and everything else you do is service to Jesus.  Apart from Jesus, you would be just like everyone else.  By His precious blood, Jesus has made you in His image and covered you with His blood.  That makes all the difference. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

In what You give us, Lord, to do, Together or alone, In old routines or ventures new, May we not cease to look to You,  The cross You hung upon—  All You endeavored done. (Lutheran Service Book 853, stanza 4)

-Pastor Peter W. Ill is Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Millstadt, Illinois.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.