Faith & Insight: Our responsibility toward our leaders

Don Baumann

Don Baumann

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Our neighborhood has once again become the center of Nevada’s political universe with the kickoff of the 2023 legislative session.

I was struck by the photos of the first day, aptly named “Family Day.” Legislators brought their children of all ages to the Assembly and Senate chambers, which made for many touching photos and lasting memories. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of praying at the opening of the Nevada Senate many times. While we waited for the session to begin, conversations would spring up with senators, staff and security.

These people wouldn’t discuss an upcoming bill or their political positions: instead, they spoke of their families, their concerns of the day. It was an honor to pray for them.

All those who love Jesus Christ are told to pray for those in governmental authority: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT)

My experience made legislators less the two-dimensional figures they might appear, talking heads or caricatures with an R or D after their names, and more human beings with families and personal cares, just like anyone else.

God wants us to pray for them, as people and as those in authority, so that we might live in a peaceful and dignified way. Nobody thrives in chaos. We have been blessed with freedom and relative peace as a nation for years; the experience of those who live in more turbulent, authoritarian nations stands in marked contrast to ours.

The objective behind peace is not self-indulgence but the opportunity to serve others, to point them to a personal relationship with the living God. “This is good and pleases God our savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the main Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” (vv 4-6)

Those in authority possess a sobering, God-given mandate: to act in such a way that rewards good and punishes evil (1 Peter 2:13-14). That statement itself would stir up a lively debate over what good and evil really are!

At this task governments have always done a mixed job. Remember, the Roman emperor governing the Mediterranean at the time Paul wrote these verses was Nero.

We’re not to pray solely for the leaders we like (and the demise of those we don’t), but we’re to intercede for them as real people. May God accomplish his purposes through them, despite their behavior worthy of caricature. After all, that’s what he does with us.

Don Baumann is a retired outreach pastor at Hilltop Community Church.


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