If you are familiar with Britain’s major supermarket chains, you will know that they have three levels of own-brand products: a low-cost basic range, a mid-cost range, and for those who are prepared to pay the extra there is the top of the range, ‘taste the difference' / ‘finest' range.
When God gave his ten top tips for human society, number 5 on his list was “Honour your father and your mother.” The word that we translate as ‘honour’ is an ancient Hebrew word that expresses the same thing as the labelling on the top of the range products in our supermarkets. God is asking us to consider our parents with high regard, to value them and ensure that we care for them. If we do that, he promises, we will all live longer.
When St Paul turned his mind to his particular divine instruction, he realised that it wasn’t setting parents above their children but was requesting equality. St Paul suggested that children should listen to their parents, and that parents should not exasperate their children. Extending this idea to slaves and masters, Paul requested that both slaves and masters should listen to one another. (The passage in Ephesians 6 commonly uses the term ‘obey’, but the word Paul used means ‘listen to’, which is more open ended.)
The over all picture, from Moses to Paul via Jesus, is that everyone is of value. Whether we are children too young to work, or are too old and frail to work, we are of value, we are top of the range in God’s judgement.
In all human societies, some people are valued more and some less. But this is not how God would have us be. To God, we are all of great value, whatever our age or state of employment. You, and everyone you meet today, are in the “God’s Finest” range. Value them.