February 15, 2016

God’s Coworkers: Governing Society

Romans 13:1-7

The authorities that exist have been established by God.

—  Romans 13:1

Every April, I do what many of us who live in the United States or Canada must do. I gather up a pile of forms and carry them to my accountant, who leads me through a maze of questions: Have I moved? Adopted? Invested? Divested? Soon afterward, he calls to tell me that my taxes are ready to file. All I have to do is sign my name.

It’s easy to complain about paying taxes. In fact, it’s easy to complain about all kinds of things in government. We gripe about the Prime Minister’s stance on climate. We grumble that the President overreaches his authority. We find fault with the police, the justice system, the school board, and the city council.

Romans 13 reminds us that although we may not always agree with our leaders, we must submit to their authority. Paul called believers to submit to the tyranny of the Roman government; we are called to submit to authority today. Many of us work in or on behalf of our government. Accountants help us pay taxes. Civil servants work to manage local, state, and federal resources for the good of the community. Police officers work to keep order in society. Each of these employees has the opportunity to serve as God’s agent in this world. We are obligated to treat those in authority as God’s authority over us.

Eternal God, you show your mercy for us by providing for order and structure in our society. May those who govern us do so with the attitude of Jesus. Help us to honor them as we would honor you. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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