“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:4)
The word “police” isn’t used in this verse, but in a way, police work is described here. The “minister” described in this verse is a minister of God to people for good, but also a minister “to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” The main job of police is to deal with people who do evil and commit crime.
Interestingly, the person in this passage is called a “minister.” Did you ever think of yourself as a minister? You may think of a “minister” as a man who preaches from the Bible; at least ministers are supposed to do that. Some so-called “ministers” don’t, and really shouldn’t call themselves ministers or preachers. At any rate, a Bible description of a minister is one who serves others. That is what police do—serve the public by dealing with criminals. So, in a way, the police really are ministers.
What’s the difference between a job and a ministry? A job is basically something you do to make a living. A ministry is also a job that you do to make a living, but more importantly, it’s a job that God gives to you and one you do to serve Him. If you’re an officer, did you know that God gave you the job? You may never have thought of it that way, but it’s true. Romans 13:1 says, “the powers that be are ordained of God.” The phrase “the powers that be” means government authority, which includes you.
A ministry is also a service that may have odd hours or be under difficult conditions. Most people start their job at a certain time, quit at a certain time, and work in a certain environment. A ministry, though, is a job that God may call you to do at some odd hour or under some unusual condition. Your police job has a start time and a quitting time, but on any given day, an emergency could come up, and you’d go into overtime. For instance, if a store is being robbed at gunpoint near the end of your shift, you can’t just say, “I’m off the clock in twenty minutes. Let the next shift handle it.” As a cop, you’re a minister, a servant of God. That’s no way for a minister to act. You’re needed right away.
You may be off-duty and see an incident that requires police action. If it’s something dangerous, you don’t need to take a stupid chance on getting killed; but if people need help in some way, you should do what you reasonably can. You can’t just ignore people in need, just because you don’t feel like taking action. God gave you this ministry of police work. It’s your job to serve Him with it.
What if your loved one was in a terrible accident, and a doctor or nurse passed by but kept driving because he was “off the clock?” Or what if you had some awful personal crisis in your family and needed to talk with the pastor—the minister—of your church right away? What would you do if you called him at about 9:30 p.m., but he said, “Sorry, but I quit at 5:00 and I don’t do overtime.”
You’d be furious! What kind of minister would say that? Any decent minister of God’s Word would be embarrassed even at the thought of doing that. He’s got a calling from God to serve the Lord by serving people in need. That’s the job of a minister: to help people in need. In another way, the job of a police “minister” is just as important. Be sure to treat it like it is—an important job that God gave you.
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Brian Miller 8/6/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216-671-2822