Summary: Do we trust God enough to honor and obey those in authority over us? It's easy to do that when they're good leaders... but what about when they're driven by selfishness and love of power?
OPEN: At a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, on Election Day, nurses went in to the room of a 72-yr-old woman to prepare her for open-heart surgery, only to find that the woman wasn’t there.
Instead they found a note which read, “Gone to vote, back in 30 minutes.”
An election official later confirmed an elderly woman had indeed come in to vote and that it seemed odd because she had IVs coming out of her arms.
(Uncle John’s Extra Large Bathroom Reader, p. 376)
I don’t know if you noticed… but we had a major election last Tuesday.
People came out in droves to vote for their party/politician.
But on Facebook I read an interesting comment that was repeated by others on that site:
“Quit Calling Elected Officials My Leaders
They are Not My Leaders!
They Are Public Servants!”
Now I understand the sentiment.
Too often elected officials don’t do what they say they’ll do.
And – of course, in America – if these officials don’t do their job we can fire them
We just don’t vote for them the next time around.
But essentially - the statement above is pure nonsense.
It is basically saying – I don’t have to OBEY these people, they have to obey me.
Carried to its logical conclusion it would mean – if I don’t want to obey this or that law I don’t have to, because the public servants are my servants, not my leaders.
That’s a recipe for chaos.
Society would fall apart.
There would be rioting… Oh yeah, there is rioting going on.
But that’s a different topic.
God’s people, are not allowed to do that.
The Bible tells us to “Obey your leaders and submit to them” Hebrews 13:17
But someone might say “Isn’t that just talking about CHURCH leaders.”
Well, yeah – in that verse.
But the principle is repeated across the board to include civil and religious authorities.
Romans 13:1-2 says: “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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Now, granted, people back in Paul’s day didn’t get to elect their officials.
But frankly, that doesn’t matter.
God expects HIS people to honor those in positions of authority over them.
It’s not an option.
Now - that said - the guy on Facebook had a point.
Leaders SHOULD be servants.
Jesus said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must BE YOUR SERVANT, and whoever would be first among you must BE YOUR SLAVE, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
You see, in the church, Elders/ Preachers/Deacons/ Sunday School Teachers/anyone in ministry of any kind - all these people are called to be SERVANTS
The Greatest among the leaders is the one who doesn’t think of it being THEIR church.
They’re not worried about THEIR agenda.
They’re not thinking about whether or not THEY are obeyed.
They become the greatest by being the servant of others.
And do you know why they're willing to be servants?
Because it’s not their church.
Well, whose church is it? (God's)
You can tell when someone forgets that.
If a leader or church member gets angry,
Or if they feel like they’re not being respected,
Or if they feels like no one has consulted them.
Those are markers that they’ve forgotten who the church belongs to.
There are people who want CONTROL.
And if they push their desire to control hard enough – one day they’ll stand before God… and God will deal with them.
That's not a pleasant prospect.
ILLUS: My home church had a massive pipe organ. It was a thing of beauty.
This was a church (at the time) of 600 people and they had three organists.
These organists would often get angry because at times they didn't get to play that organ as much as the next organ player did.
Do you know why they got angry?
Because they forgot whose organ that was.
To them, it wasn’t God’s pipe organ… it was theirs.
ILLUS: I heard of a church where the chairman of the Elders decided that the hired staff would not be allowed to be part of Elder meetings. Why? Because he felt that the Elders should RUN the staff, and if the staff were in those Elders meetings they might end getting too much authority that the chairman believed belonged to the Elders alone.