Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day five with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for leaders.
Thankful for Leaders
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)
Most Christians know the above verses. How well we practice them may be a different story, but we know them — or at least we think we do. We are often reminded, and rightfully so, that we need to pray for our leaders. Here in the United States and in other places where people have a voice in choosing their leaders, we need to be in prayer for the selection process even before our political leaders are elected. But what about giving thanks for everyone . . . including those in authority that we may or may not have voted for?
While I wrote this on an off-year election day that I have no one to vote for (municipal elections only in Indiana and I’m a country boy), I am thankful for a process that, while flawed, allows me to live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and holiness. Yes, I hear the rumblings and I don’t care for the political maneuvering that has been going on for decades (though it is really not a new thing at all). But I think that if Paul can write to people living under the rule of the Roman empire and urge them to pray and be thankful for those in authority, surely God would want you and I to live the same way in this day and age.
Does your thankfulness for leaders ebb and flow? Why? How difficult is it for you to be thankful for someone you disagree with? Are there things within your disagreement that you can find to be thankful for? What? What does the challenging of your beliefs do to your level of conviction regarding what you hold to be true?
I am thankful that no matter who is in charge politically in my city, county, state, and nation, God’s authority will always have the final say. I am thankful that God has the power and authority to use both good and wicked leaders to accomplish the strengthening of His people. I am thankful for those who persevere in their faith under severe persecution as they remind me that my faithfulness should not be dependent on the powers of this world.
If you live in a location where you are able to vote for your leaders, spend time in prayer and God’s Word seeking His help and guidance in your decision and then be thankful for both the process and the leaders selected. If you’re not somewhere that voting is taking place, or it’s beyond election day, spend time in prayer and God’s Word seeking His help to be more thankful “for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”