Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
The Top Five things for which I am thankful fall into five broad categories. In reverse order of their importance they are…
# 5: Things I can taste, smell, touch, see, and hear.
# 4: Freedoms and blessings we enjoy in these United States of America
# 3: Family of believers – brothers and sisters in Christ
# 2: Family, wife, children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews
# 1: The goodness, love, and grace of God shown in Jesus Christ.
Today’s thanksgiving blessing: The Freedoms and blessings we enjoy in these United States of America
I don’t know too many people who are pleased with the political climate or situation we’re in here in the United States of America. If you’re on the far left, you are no doubt disappointed and distressed by the Roe vs. Wade reversal, the halting of student loan forgiveness, and even the slim majority that the Republicans won in the mid-term elections. If you’re on the far right, you’re likely worried that the Red Wave was barely a ripple in the mid-terms, and distressed over the general direction of our country over the past few years.
But we’re not in Ukraine. We’re not in North Korea. We’re not living under the duress of violence and corruption in Nigeria, Venezuela, or Sudan. We may not like the election results, and might question their validity. But there is still the rule of law. And no one has demanded that we stop worshiping our God, calling on Jesus, and holding our biblical beliefs. I’m not worried that I’m going to be attacked by a gang of automatic-rifle-toting thugs on my way to the grocery store. I am not being forced to deny my faith in order to get a job or vote.
A good and godly friend would occasionally push for a libertarian agenda, denying government’s legitimate role in the world or society. I would point him to the Romans passage above, and remind him that Paul wrote that while the world was experiencing the Pax Romana. This was a time of great peace, free trade and travel, and political stability. But abuses abound always. And soon there would be great persecutions of Jesus’ followers. He had already faced persecution and injustice in his missionary work. But he never denied God’s proper place and blessing in his life. He even used his Roman citizenship to gain freedom and to make his way to Rome.
Jesus put it well, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Our government officials deserve our respect. God deserves our thanks and praise. All four of our sons have served in the armed forces of the United States. One of them is an officer in the US Navy. We are proud of them and thankful for the freedoms they protect. So today I am thankful to God for the freedoms we have here in the United States of America, and for all who serve to make that freedom possible and safe.
What’s on your list?