13 All of you must be willing to obey completely those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. 2 So when you oppose the authorities, you are opposing those whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged. 3 If you do what is right, you won’t need to be afraid of your rulers. But watch out if you do what is wrong! You don’t want to be afraid of those in authority, do you? Then do what is right. The one in authority will praise you. 4 He serves God and will do you good. But if you do wrong, watch out! The ruler doesn’t carry a sword for no reason at all. He serves God. And God is carrying out his anger through him. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. 5 You must obey the authorities. Then you will not be punished. You must also obey them because you know it is right. 6 That’s also why you pay taxes. The authorities serve God. Ruling takes up all their time. 7 Give to everyone what you owe. Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it.
Gosh what a passage. We so don’t want to hear that we need to not speed or other minor things that we think are not important. On the other hand we want other people to stick to the laws. It’s great that God is part of how life works. That He thinks an organised world is important and part of His plan.
In “The Message” version part of verse 7 reads “Fulfill your obligations as a citizen.” That’s an interesting matter to think about. How should we participate in our community? What can we bring to those who live in our community? What skills do we have that might be useful to others? Our busy lives often mean we are quite self-focused. For each of us, there will be something that God puts on our hearts that we are passionate about. We should ask Him what particular aspect of how our community works He would like us to look at and get involved in. What is it for you?
Praise You Lord – that You are interested in our society running well and for each of us to participate in making a community. Help us to learn what part we can play.
Written by Therese Manning