“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;”
(1 Timothy 2:1-3)
Many newer Christians, particularly younger Christians, sometimes become guilty of “putting the cart before the ox.” That is, they oftentimes strive to produce the large scale ministry results they read about not only in the lives of the Bible’s heroes but in the lives of today’s famous pastors, theologians, and evangelists. I remember dealing with a young man years ago who was absolutely fixated on becoming a pastor. Speaking with him, I learned that his basic motive was to have hundreds of people sitting around listening to him. Another young man I knew felt compelled to emulate the street preachers he had seen on Youtube. He too wanted to speak through a megaphone, gather crowds of people around him, and engage in spirited debate with those resistant to his message. In both cases these men had chosen the wrong things as their chief goals. The greatest command the Lord gave us is to love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Mark 12:30). Our love relationship with God ought to be our first priority. Whatever else we may have right in our lives, if we have no love for the Savior we are not His. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,” wrote Paul, “let him be Anathema!”(1 Corinthians 16:22). Loving the Lord means walking with Him day by day without seeking fanfare our attention on ourselves. As today’s verse reminds us, we ought to pray for our leaders so that we can live “quiet and peaceable” lives. He wrote to the Thessalonians, and by extension to all of us, that we ought to increase in love of others in the household of faith, “and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12). If we love the Lord sincerely and consistently, we will find ourselves loving others also (1 John 3-4). Though our chief concern is not our own popularity or influence but a faithful, consistent walk with the Lord, it remains true that such a walk will make an impact in the world sooner or later. Daniel prayed to the Lord daily and consistently. When this became illegal, Daniel did not deliberately draw attention to himself; he simply did as he had always done (Daniel 6:10). This was enough to create quite a stir in the kingdom but that was not his goal. Neither was it Paul’s goal to make a name for himself (2 Corinthians 4:5) or create riots wherever he went (Acts 19). He simply desired what we should all desire, that the Gospel would be preached and believed, and that God would be glorified. May these be our chief goals also.