Thankful—for Our Leaders?
Our nation is in trouble—financially, at least. The national debt is about to tip $20 trillion, which reminds me of the financial investment expert I interviewed years ago.
The point he made in our discussion was that we pay too much attention to our nation’s deficits without considering the assets that are worth far more.
Later, he remarked in a column that until we reached $25 trillion we wouldn’t see a catastrophic impact on our economy.
When we hit $19 trillion, I thought, “At the rate we’re going it will only take a few more years to get there.”
It’s not just our nation that is facing serious deficits. In the latest session of my state’s legislature, lawmakers grappled with whether to increase a variety of taxes and whittle spending to plug a projected $500 billion deficit for fiscal 2018.
Earlier this year, our city laid off 17 police officers and seven firefighters, cut its capital improvement budget by $1.3 million, eliminated its spring paving program, and froze hiring and non-essential spending—all in an attempt to eliminate a projected $5 million deficit.
Cities and states nationwide are grappling with under-funded pension obligations that run into the hundreds of billions. Solving these problems won’t come easily or without loads of screaming from those affected.
Attitude of Gratitude
Right now, I wouldn’t be too wild about occupying a hot seat in any corner of government, be that at a local, state or federal level.
Which is where 1 Timothy 2:1-2 comes into play. The passage urges us to pray for kings and all who are in high positions.
A couple times in past blogs I cited this passage in relation to praying for our elected officials.
However, at a recent prayer meeting at our church, a friend read these verses and brought out an aspect I had never thought of.
Namely, the instruction in verse 1 that we not just pray for rulers and those in authority, but that we do so “with thanksgivings.”
While he hadn’t considered it before, either, my friend said he thought it over.
“Would I want to be responsible for resolving the city’s $5 million deficit?” he said. “No. Would I want to be trying to take care of the state’s $500 million deficit? No. Would I want to have the headaches of running the national government? No.”
“We should be thankful somebody is.”
Thanksgiving is so briefly mentioned in these verses that it’s easy to overlook it. I always had amid a focus of praying for our leaders, with a primary focus of the peace that we as citizens could enjoy.
The Body in Action
I’m grateful for my friend raising this point for a couple reasons:
- In America, grumbling and complaining about our leaders is like a national sport.
While I’ve always been a free speech advocate, it’s too easy to get carried away on the wave of negativity that characterizes far too much public discussion. Whether over talk radio or the water cooler, it carries a similar tone.
- This exchange illustrates the value of the body of Christ.
I recently finished co-authoring a book on how God designed His church as a grassroots-led, Spirit-filled body of believers.
Since none of us has a corner on the Word or its interpretation, or the challenges we all face in daily life, we need each other.
We help encourage each other, console each other in times of trials and grief, and help each other see things in Scripture that we hadn’t considered. In my case, that includes thankfulness for our leaders.