Thought for Thursday

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 1 Corinthians 11:10

Do you know how to identify members of the various officers’ ranks in the military? The sleeve of each officer has a series of gold stripes that indicates the rank, but you have to know what those stripes mean. For the different ranks of general, you need to count the maple leaves. People in the military know what all of those stripes and buttons and maple leaves mean, because if somebody in the military has more stripes or buttons or maple leaves than you, you are below that person in rank and are required to acknowledge that. A major must salute the lieutenant general (there is only one of those), for example, and an army captain must salute a colonel. Those rank insignia represent authority. There are symbols of authority among the Lord’s people, too, to indicate where we stand in rank.

Just as in the military where the ranks indicate levels of authority, and not importance of the person, so the ranks among the Lord’s people do not belittle any or elevate any – other than our Commander in Chief. Just as there is only one lieutenant general in the Canadian army, so there is only one Supreme Officer in God’s army. No, it’s not the pope or any preacher, it is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Just as everybody in the military must salute and obey the lieutenant general, so must all of us acknowledge the lordship of, and obey, the Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of any other relationships, our first priority and responsibility is Him. But beyond that ultimate responsibility and recognition of authority, where do Christians observe ranks among ourselves?

The two ranks that Scripture recognizes among the Lord’s people are men and women. That’s it! Within those two ranks are many different types of people involved in many different aspects of the Lord’s service. But the ranks are only two. Apart from those ranks, there are those who we need to acknowledge, such as our parents, who we are told to honour, and as children, obey. There are also members of Assembly oversight who we are told to heed as they carry out their responsibilities to care for the flock. But there are no ranks along those lines, because every one of us stands as a child of God, functioning in the rank of a man (boy) or a woman (girl). God has placed the man in the position of authority and of being the mouthpiece. He has placed the woman in the position of subjection and of being the showpiece. These two ranks complement each other; they do not stand in competition with each other. God is honoured when each takes the responsibility seriously, because properly functioning ranks are a vital lesson to the angels.

As the woman wears her head covering, she displays to the angels the beauty of God’s order: the woman in subjection to the man,and the man in subjection to Christ.

Angels can learn much from you and me. And they will learn, if we follow God’s pattern of authority. -Jim MacIntosh

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