Acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord. (1 Thess. 5:12)

My wife and I were on vacation, driving to Florida with some friends. In Georgia, we were pulled over by a state trooper for driving (slightly) too fast. As the trooper approached the car, he unexpectedly and viciously kicked the back bumper hard, put his hand onto his gun, and yelled at my friend who was driving to get out of the car with his hands visible. To this day, I am not sure why the officer kicked the car, yelled, and saw us as a threat. Our license plate clearly identified us as living out of state, and we were obviously two young couples traveling with lots of luggage.

I remember thinking, “This police officer seems to be on a bit of a power trip. Why is he kicking our car?” Perhaps he had some stressful things happening at home or had previous bad interactions with tourists. Nevertheless, his treatment of us was clearly overblown. In my opinion, in that moment, he did not deserve respect or submission.

But, he was a police officer, appointed and empowered by the state to enforce laws and keep the peace. Somewhere along the line I had learned the importance of submitting to the position, not necessarily to the person. We complied with everything he asked of us, and eventually we were free to continue our travels.

Respect and submit to those the Lord has placed over you.

Stephen Elliott serves as national superintendent of The Wesleyan Church of Canada and part-time teacher at Kingswood University. He is a happy grandfather of four girls.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.