Artist: Urban Rescue
We’ve been chatting this week about honor.
As Pastor David challenged us last Sunday, giving honor is a natural expression of the Christian’s life. God has honored us – sinners and all – through the work of His Son, Jesus. And one result of that gracious intervention seems to be that we honor those around us. We show respect. We esteem others better than ourselves. We lay down our lives for others. We recognize the value in others. We add value to others.
Today, we discover that honor extends also to those in authority – specifically, those in positions of civil leadership, like government officials.
Consider what Paul says to Timothy:
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For,
There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
1 Timothy 2:1-6
While the word ‘honor’ doesn’t expressly show up in this passage, you get the sense it’s hiding in there somewhere. Particularly that nagging little phrase: give thanks for them.
It requires me to look for the good in people, to find the value in them, and then to celebrate it. It’s a close cousin to honor.
For who? Them. All people. But explicitly for kings and all who are in authority.
Pray this way – asking God to help, interceding and expressing thanks for – civil authorities.
Why do we honor those in authority? There are some intervening reasons – like the ability to live lives of peacefulness, godliness, and dignity. But the bottom line? Because God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
I’m not called to always agree with them. I’m not called to submit unequivocally to them, irrespective of God’s precepts.
But I am called to honor them. To pray for them, to intercede for them, to give thanks for them. Why? Because God loves them. He wants to save them – and everyone under their care.
It’s a particularly relevant conversation for an election year. ‘Honor’ isn’t topping the list of words that might describe the tone of this election cycle.
So how do we honor civil authorities – even when we disagree with them? This passage gives us some help: pray, intercede, and give thanks.
It’s hard to denigrate people – or dishonor them – when you’re praying, interceding, and giving thanks for them.
That’s the challenge in front of us today. Take a moment to consider your civil leaders – current and prospective. Then, pray for them. Ask God to help them, intercede for them, and give thanks for them. Because God wants everyone to be saved.