July 26, 1994
The baby sitter sat on the swimming pool’s edge. She enjoyed taking care of these children. Not only was the pool a nice bonus, these children were obedient. Their parents had diligently taught them to obey with a pleasant spirit. When she told them to do something, they did it with a smile.
As she dangled her feet in the water, a flicker of light and faint buzzing attracted her attention. She looked up into the cloudless sky and saw nothing. In a few seconds, she heard the noise again. It sounded like an angry insect. Her eye caught a flash of light near the house where cables carried electricity into the family home. Wires sparked and cracked.
The sitter jumped to her feet and quickly called the children. She didn’t have time to think what might happen if they argued with her. “Get out of the pool, right now,” she cried.
Each child obeyed instantly. Moments after they backed from the edge of the pool, the cable sizzled once more. With sparks flying, it separated and one end fell into the water with a loud crack, then a bang as the breaker tripped. No one was injured.
When we heard this story, we thought most children would have responded to a command to get out of a swimming pool on a hot day with: “What for? We are having fun. Give us a break...” or something similar. These children were different. The rest of the story explained why.
At the root of their response was training received by parents who were dedicated to the Word of God. They tried to know it, understand it, and teach it to their children. They also realized teaching alone would not insure obedience, so they tried to follow it as closely as possible in their own lives.
They particularly modeled what the Bible said about couples. Their father tried to love their mother and serve her needs, just as Christ loves and serves the church. Their mother made it her aim to respond to her husband as the church should respond to Christ. Their children saw how God’s plan for families resulted in parents who worked well together without missing any of the enjoyment of life.
That example made it easier for them to obey Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother--which is the first commandment with a promise--that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
The phrase, “obey your parents in the Lord” refers to the children in their obedience, not to the parents in their giving orders. In other words, the children are “in the Lord,” trusting Him, rather than waiting for parents to be godly before listening to what they say.
In the sight of God, children are significant and able to make choices. He knows children can choose to trust and obey Him, even if their parents do not. However, verse 4 shows that God is concerned parents do their part. Moms and dads are not supposed to exasperate their children or provoke them to anger. Instead, they are responsible to lovingly teach their little ones as the Lord would, nurturing and caring for them.
Even though the primary message of the Bible concerns eternal life in heaven, this story illustrates one way that simple obedience to God can result in a longer life here on earth.