“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 responsibility as a Christian?” comes Paul’s response: pray. Citizenship concerns, particularly those involving the persons 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. Beloved, 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, In all that we do, prayer is one of the most loving and effective ways of communicating with our Lord. It is one of the greatest gifts we have seen, because it only requires us to find a quiet place (so we are not easily distracted), so that we can concentrate on what we are praying for and/or whom. It is a quiet witness to anyone who may see us praying, of our faith and dependence on Your guidance in things we are called or led to pray about. We consider praying for others needs or intercessions on behalf of others a privilege. Abba, we love You and come before You for a variety of things; healings, peace and comfort, intercessions for others and ourselves. We pray, because it works and it keeps us close to You in our daily lives. This we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A Bible in the hand is worth two in the bookcase.”
“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.” (Titus 3:1-2)
Obedience to governmental law is a basic duty of Christian citizens. Governments may enforce laws which a follower of Christ Jesus is seeking to follow God’s law of love cannot in good conscience obey. Then protests may be in order. Protests within a society should be made only from a stance of cooperative citizenship
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong doer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what yo own him: If yo ow taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-7)
This passage is Paul’s most concise summary of Christians relationships to the state (at least it is an attempt to be concise). Paul based his argument on the order of creation. God has ordained order rather than disorder. Thus he has established the principles of government. Paul did not describe any particular system of government as God’s choice. Remember he lived under the rule of he Roman empire and could argue that even eh Caesars and their appointees were deserving of honor. They were acting on behalf of he principle of government and justice which stands for order out of chaos. Government officials are, in fact, ministers for the cause of justice. They are not be be feared unless laws have been broken, for they have been given the sword of authority to keep justice. Paul did not want the fledgling Christian movement to be lost to potentially self-destructive revolutions. Rather, pay the appropriate taxes and duties. In return we expect a system working for he well-being of the whole society. Paul left some room for difference with a government as he considered those who deserve honor and those who do no. The conclusion is that the burden of proof is on one who does not submit to the principle of civil government in his or her lives.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“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. So the spies questioned him: ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and teach with is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is is right for us to pat taxes to Caesar or not?’ He saw through heir duplicity and said to hem, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription 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)
Sounds a lot like Paul’s answer doesn’t it? Jesus knew what these men were doing and why they were doing it. 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, definitive resolution to all our questions, whether theological or political. These 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.