Summary: Give Thanks for Alberta’s Centennial 1) By honoring all those in authority 2) By loving all those in our community
One hundred years. That’s how old the province of Alberta is. Did you go to any of the centennial celebrations last week? Even if you didn’t, you can still thank God for the blessings we have in this province. The Apostle Paul says we can do this by honoring all those in authority, and by loving all those in our community.
The newspaper articles and special events commemorating Alberta’s centennial have done a good job of highlighting the many blessings we have in this part of the world. There are the obvious blessings of rich natural resources like oil and gas, but let’s not forget about another blessing God has given to us – the blessing of government.
Government a blessing? Yes! Consider what life would be like without government. Who would fix our roads? Who would ensure that our trash was collected on time? Who would make sure hospitals were running up to code? Who would keep the bad guys off our streets? These are all things the government takes care of. No, the government doesn’t do these things perfectly but at least it’s doing something to give us order and stability. I suppose we could compare it to how the Italian government spent millions of dollars trying to straighten the leaning tower of Pisa. They attached cables to pull the tower upright and then injected liquid nitrogen in the ground to freeze the tower into place. Although the tower of Pisa still leans, the Italian government has at least saved it from toppling over. In the same way every government spends millions of dollars trying to straighten society. Although it never quite gets it stand perfectly straight, in trying government does keep society from toppling over.
Because government is a blessing from God, Paul says that we are to show our thanks by submitting to all governing authority whether Prime Minister or crossing guard at the local school. But what about bad government? We certainly don’t need to give them our respect do we? We do for every authority has been put in power by God (Romans 13:1).
Wait a minute here. Is Paul really saying that God establishes every ruling authority? That would include people like Hitler and Stalin! Yes, and it also included Emperor Nero who was in charge when Paul originally wrote the words of our text. Nero was the emperor who had the habit of lighting up his garden parties with Christians as human torches! Paul says that even such bad authorities are to be obeyed and given respect. Of course, if these governments should tell us to do something that is sinful, then we must disobey (Acts 5:29). However we cannot disobey or even disrespect a governing official because we think he or she is a buffoon. To think that way is to say that God didn’t know what he was doing when he allowed those people to take power. Granted, we’re not saying that Hitler, Stalin, or Nero ruled the way God wanted them to rule. They clearly did things that were sinful and took advantage of their power. God will judge them for that but we still owe all governing authorities our respect and obedience.