Can you imagine having seen both covered wagons coming across the prairie AND a man on the moon! Talk about a lifetime of experiencing new and sometimes “new-fangled” things. When we respect our elders, we are not only giving honor to the person but to the experiences they lived through. We can see history through their eyes.
For King David, he was especially fond of the elderly man in our story today. Barzillai of Gilead was not only coming now to pay homage and respect to the king, but he had contributed generously to David’s cause when in conflict with Absalom. Such charity is always remembered warmly. David was ready to “adopt” Barzillai and bring him back to Jerusalem to care for him. That was truly an honor to be chosen by the king.
If you ever wanted to know what God expects from us in terms of how to live, Paul reveals a bit of that to Titus in this reading. Guys and gals, old and young, even slaves have some good stuff to take away. I was just a little stunned when I realized that slaves got extra. After all, they are also going to fit into one of the gender categories as well, right? Being we don’t have “slaves” commonly today is probably what caught my attention, too.
Paul is covering all the bases to protect all people. There’s some good stuff here. Now that I’m seeing myself in the “older women” category, I’m especially touched by the notion of showing my younger counterparts how to love and honor their husbands and families. It’s basically a nice way of saying, “set a good example, one others can learn from and model.”
Solomon was such a gentleman. Whether or not he felt any attack on his pride or had disappointment from his rejection a couple readings ago, you’d never know it. He is so delighted to be back in Shulamith’s presence. He is tender and adoring, just like on their wedding night.
You may also notice he is using very similar images to tell her of her beauty. We’ve heard these before. To me, that sends the message that he loves her like the first day, despite any “problem” they have had. Did you notice what he didn’t say? He didn’t use the more sensual language. Why? In gentlemanly fashion, he didn’t want her to think the only reason he was being nice was to get in her good graces so he could jump back in the sack with her. To put it bluntly! Too many times, the male motivation comes through in their words and body language. Solomon gives a good example of NOT doing that. It will be much more effective in the reconciliation process.
The art of listening, and it is an art, is dying. Now that’s a bold statement and, if true, frightening. Today’s proverb is found in verse 13, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” Finding someone who truly listens can be hard. There are certain professions where the art of listening is key, such as doctors, lawyers, reporters, coaches, just to name a few. For them to be productive and successful in their jobs, they need to listen and understand those with whom they are interacting.
So often, people are either in a rush or too worried about
their own problems to be totally present with another human. How do I know?
Because I have been guilty of this. Listening is something I have to work on
every day. I have to control my mind and tell it to slow down. So many things are
rushing through my head, including things I could say or inject into the conversation.
If I don’t blurt it out, how will I remember it when they give me a chance to
We all have parents. Some of us are still able to honor them. Some of us are parents and know what it feels like to be honored. The reminder here is a good one. This is the first commandment with a promise. It wasn’t just an expectation from God, there was a reward attached. Do this and get that. When we honor our parents, we are promised a long life, and that things will go well for us.
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I had a hard time honoring my parents. I was a bit of a rebel child. I could say the same for my own children. Why is it that the ones we love most sometimes take the brunt of our attacks and abuse? If only we could be more mindful of God’s command. He is just waiting to fulfill his promise. Continue reading “Ephesians 6:1-9 – Just For Everyone”