No Extortion, No Harassing, No Coveting
Two of my students at Southern Bible Institute are with the Dallas Sheriff Department. My T.A. served until retirement on the Anaheim police force, and Mary and I got to go to the retirement of two lifelong friends who served the Dallas Police Department with distinction. Three of these officers are African American, one is Hispanic, and one is Caucasian. They demonstrate the multi-racial reality of our population, and each of these individuals had to face the challenge of using force justly and wisely to protect the peace.
For more than a year I’ve had to go quite regularly to the Social Security Office. Someone hacked into my account, stole my social security number, and fraudulently started withdrawing payments. The last agent I dealt with worked hard to make sure that all the forms were filled out right so that I would be protected. He was Hispanic. Again, I celebrate all the ethnic groups that mingle in our national melting pot, but there are also tensions, a seething anger, and sometimes-explosive violence. These tensions were even hotter in first century Palestine as the Romans occupied the Jewish homeland. What did the Herald of the Messiah have to say to tax collectors and law enforcement officers?
“And some tax collectors had come to be baptized. They asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Don’t collect more than you have been ordered to collect.’ And some soldiers were questioning him, ‘What should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Don’t extort or threaten (the term literally means “to shake violently”), and be content with your pay.’” - Luke 3:12-14
This was good advice to prepare for Jesus in the first century. Now that He has come, died, and risen for us, it’s still good advice. If you’re a police officer, be honest, just, and fair as you protect all our citizens. Don’t allow unjust threats and illegitimate shakedowns to mar your profession. If you’re a follower of Christ and you work in the tax office, work hard to make sure the accounts are right, that only what is due is collected, and please keep working to flush out those responsible for stealing the millions of tax dollars stolen by fraud.
LORD, protect my two students who are continuing to work to keep us safe during this break before the beginning of next semester. Thank you for many law enforcement officers in our area who love the Lord Jesus. Give them strength to deal with those who do harass and extort, and protect them from entering into the corruption they are seeking to destroy. LORD, help me to rest content in You, not coveting more pay.
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