God Delights in How we Serve Each Other

“Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.”

Colossians 3:20

This verse is in the midst of a passage on how we are to treat each other. Colossians 3:18-21 says,

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)

God delights when we serve each other with love and care because when we do, we reflect his character, and we serve him. This passage is sometimes viewed as Paul specifically telling husbands and fathers, wives, and children how to treat each other in totality. Instead, I believe he highlights the area that had been a source of conflict for the church he was writing to. It’s also important to remember that while we can glean helpful tips from Paul’s letters, we don’t know the full context here. This is not a mandate. It’s Paul’s words, not God’s.

Could these be considered equally hard?

  • Wives submit to husbands
  • Husbands love wives, don’t be harsh
  • Children obey parents
  • Fathers don’t embitter (or exasperate) children

Ultimately God delights in how we treat each other because we reflect him best when we serve and care for each other. Paul’s words echo Jesus in Matthew 22:35-40, which says,

And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (CSB)

All the law depends on how we treat each other. So it makes sense that God would delight in our choice to reflect him in our actions to love our neighbors and our family members.

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Readers Note: As I explored this word in 2017, I participated in Write 31 Days. I’m slowly updating these posts. This post was updated in May 2022 to extend what I’ve learned about delight, what God is delighted by, and how delight connects us to our Savior.