“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1st Timothy 2:1-2)
To the question, “Where does one begin in citizenship responsibilities as a Christian?” comes Paul’s response: pray. Citizenship concerns, particularly those involving the person in leadership, are worthy of intense prayer attention.
Such prayer can serve as the channels through which God provides opportunities for government officials to perceive Christians as among those who are good citizens. Thus, the result is more opportunity for Christian witness and greater influence in decision-making circles.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, it is very clear that Paul’s leaving Timothy in Ephesus, concerned him, and thus he wrote the letter to Timothy as one well developed as a spiritual leader and as such he was the right person to lead the church in worship, prayer, and of observing proper order, while he moved on to Macedonia. Abba, You call strong leaders to Your service, and give them a strong foundation in Scripture. Timothy one, such as this and he lead the church through tumultuous times, stronger than when he came, and it was a testament to You, and to Your direction of Timothy through Paul and others, that led to success in the church, through Christ and His apostles. This we pray in Jesus’ name pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Home improvement: take your family to church!”
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus3:1-2)
Obedience to governmental law is a basic duty of Christian citizens. Government, may enforce laws which a disciple seeking to follow God’s law of love cannot in good conscience obey. Then protests may be in order. Protest within a society should be made only from a stance of cooperative citizenship. Paul did not want the Christian movement to falter, and so he did not recommend one form of government over another, but he did seek a form of government that wound not be lost in potentially self-destructive revolutions. Rather, a form where they could pay the appropriate taxes and duties. In return they could be expect a system worked for the well-being of the whole society. He left some room for difference with a government as he considered those who deserve honor and those who do not.
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to command those who do right.” (1st Peter2:13-14)
In the time Jesus was on this earth, he told everyone to pay what was expected in taxes and duties to the Roman government, as they were the recognized government for people to pay. Jesus also said to give God what was His; our love, our loyalty, and our tithe to the church. We still ought to be doing so, but many seem to be looking for someone to “entertain” them, and not hold them accountable for their actions. Clergy are pressured to be funny, to preach more on current event than on Scriptures. Church is a place where we come to on Sunday mornings to hear funny stories, to listen to pleasing music and especially to not be made uncomfortable! Unfortunately, seminary left all that out and taught us to present the Word of God in a way that was consistent to what Jesus had taught the people of the 1st Century. We are taught to tell the truth, we are taught that when a member does not conform to church doctrine, and we are taught to tell the truth in explaining the message of Scripture. People who sin, like to hear comfortable messages, not something that makes them uncomfortable. Sadly, if we lead the members astray, we are held to a higher degree of accountability, so we must present the truth, no matter how it “feels.” God’s message is that of true love for His people and as clergy, we are to love our people in this same way. I pray people well understand this and know that it is in love, that we preach for everyone’s benefit, not our own.
Second Thought of the Day:
Three things are clear: this is a beginning place to inform our Christian consciences in citizenship matters; it is a reminder that the extension of governmental authority misses no one; and no matter what one’s income or social position, paying taxes is a part of the submission to the state. While the image upon a coin representative of government authority, the image upon a person is God’s. People’s basic relationship ought to be in obedience to God.
“Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. Do the spies questioned him: ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but each the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ He saw through their duplicity and said to them, ‘Show me a denarious, Whose portrait and inscription are on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.” (Luke 20:20–26)
Jesus provided a timeless principle for dealing with the claims God seeks over our lives as well as the claims of the most powerful temporal force on our lives, the government. The passage does not provide a final, clear resolution to all our questions, beloved, whether theological or political. Three things are clear: this is a beginning place to inform our Christian consciences in citizenship matters; it is a reminder that the extension of governmental authority misses no one; and no matter what one’s income or social position, paying taxes is a part of the submission to the state.