First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
He has been called a "hero" and a "legend," a man worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, a person who is "the greatest man of our time."
And who is this man-above-all-others? Is it the Dalai Lama? Bill Gates? Albert Schweitzer? If these were your guesses, you guessed wrong.
The "great man" is Muntadhar al-Zaidi.
You do remember al-Zaidi, don't you?
Al-Zaidi's 15 minutes of fame came when the Iraqi journalist took off his shoes and winged them at President Bush. No matter how you feel about the president emeritus, you have to admire the nimble ducking he did that day. For his action, al-Zaidi has been given three-years in prison.
The decision has outraged millions who felt al-Zaidi was speaking, or throwing, for them.
I wonder what would have been the reaction if he had thrown his shoes at Saddam Hussein? I'm curious. I'm curious what would his sentence have been if he had done that to that country's dead dictator? Of course, that's beside the point.
Or is it? Scripture tells us how we are to react to those who are in authority. As often as I read the text serving as the theme for today's devotion, I find nothing there saying we should throw our shoes at world leaders.
On the contrary, the apostle tells us to uphold these leaders before the Lord in prayer. This we do for their sakes, most certainly; but we also do so because we wish to lead peaceful, quiet, dignified and, above all, godly lives.
It is an attitude the Savior espoused. During His unjust arrest, unfair trials, and cruel mistreatment, He still treated His persecutors with respect. Now, because He did so -- because He finished His work of redeeming us -- we are forgiven, saved, and able to live our days with a different set of priorities -- a set of priorities that tells us to pray even for those with whom we disagree.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, when I look for heroes, may I follow the Savior rather than a man who throws his shoes. Be with the leaders of this world so they may rule rightly and allow the Savior's Name to be shared with sinful souls. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries