What Do I Owe?

Opening Prayer

Thank You, Jesus, for paying the incredible debt that we could never pay.

Read Romans 13:1–7

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Reflect

What do you owe? To whom? These may not only be monetary debts.

Trust of our leaders is at an all-time low. Between the sex scandals, the banking crisis and the tax dodges it is easy to think that our politicians, business leaders and the like are simply out for what they can get, regardless of the cost to others. How can we honor and submit to people like that?

First, we need to remember that it is not our place to judge others, but to look to our own consciences: do you always do what is right, or do you sometimes cut corners, delay payments, fudge the truth or take more than your fair share?

Second, the Bible makes a distinction between what someone deserves and what we owe. Our leaders don’t have to earn our respect and obedience; we are called to fulfill our side of the contract whether they deserve it or not.

Apply

Are there areas where you are not paying others what you owe, whether it’s financially, giving respect or another area?

Closing prayer

Ask God for forgiveness for debts you have overlooked, and take steps to make the necessary changes.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider