October 31, 2023

For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 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.


Romans 13:4-7


I was in seminary during a presidential election cycle, and one of my professors went off on a nearly half-hour long diatribe against one of the candidates. He was playing to the room, as he realized that the vast majority of the students supported “the other guy,” who happened not to be the incumbent. He was an Old Testament professor so I had to give him credit for not spending his time focused on the words of Romans 13, but it was a case where I simply felt wrong hearing the disparaging remarks made about the President.


All of our elected officials are servants of God (even if they don’t believe that about themselves). They have answered a call that He has placed upon their lives to serve as leaders within the government, and regardless of our personal views of those officials, we should offer them respect and honor. That does not mean that we have to vote for someone with whom we disagree (much less like all of their policies), but we should treat them with the respect of someone who is following their calling.


Another way to think about this idea is with the word agape, which is one of the Greek words for love that Paul uses throughout his writings. At the heart of agape is the desire for the best for someone else, not because of anything that we like or dislike about them but purely because they too have been made in God’s Image, as we each are.

For Discussion

How does your perspective on elected officials change when you think of them as God’s servants?


What would happen if we offered respect and honor to those with whom we disagree?


God, you have called us each to follow you in unique ways, and you have called us to offer one another respect and honor as those who follow your calling. Help us to remove our blinders of anger and frustration and to see one another as those who follow you. In Jesus’ name we pray; amen.

Rev. Scott Tucker
Pastor for Grand Adults