First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  1 Timothy 2:1, 2

When these words are put into bold type they seem strange and foreign to our way of thinking.  To many, governmental leaders are a necessary evil at best.  What is there to be thankful for?  The corruption?  The increasing taxes and wasteful spending?  The lousy moral example?  The narcissistic hubris that ignores the desires of those who elected them?  And in America, they work for us.  Why be thankful for people who are just doing their jobs while getting some pretty nice perks at the same time (which we pay for)?

In this week of focusing on giving thanks, we should be reminded of a few things.  The verses that began this post are a good place to start.  The New Testament gives guidance to the right mindset the child of God should have toward civil authorities and one of those attitudes is thankfulness.  Romans 13 makes it clear that leaders are God’s ministers to us for our good (Romans 13:4).  How amazing that Paul would be inspired to write those words when the emperor, Nero, carried out ruthless attacks on Christians:

“Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car.”  (Annals of Tacitus, 15:44)

We should start by thanking God that we aren’t under a leader like that.  Still, in that first-century political system, Paul wrote the command to be thankful and submit to human leadership.

As I meet and talk with leaders, I find them to be people just like us who have been put in a position of great responsibility.  Most genuinely want to serve the public and make decisions that they truly believe are best.  We must thank God for placing them above us, whether we agree with the decisions or not.  Political disagreement does not nullify the command to give thanks for leaders.

I’ll be sending out many emails and notes of thanks to office-holders in Maryland.  Could you send one or two to leaders in your district?  Google their names, get their contact information and follow through!