I have said before that I grew up in a military family, the daughter of a Marine Corps officer; and now I am the wife of an Air Force officer – the military has left an indelible imprint upon me.
You have to have a working knowledge of the rank structure and the jargon to keep up with the conversation. For me, there has been a learning curve; it is different in the Air Force than it was with the Marines. For example, the Marine Corps is organized by platoons, companies, battalions, regiments and divisions (and there’s even more to it than that) and the bigger groups are headed by a CO (Commanding Officer) and an XO (Executive Officer). In the Air Force, there are flights, squadrons, groups and wings and they are headed by a Commander and Deputy Commander.
In the military it is important to know who is in charge. You have to understand and follow the Chain of Command. Here’s what Wiki has to say about Chain of Command: the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. Orders are transmitted down the chain of command, from a higher-ranked soldier, such as a commissioned officer, to lower-ranked personnel who either execute the order personally or transmit it down the chain as appropriate, until it is received by those expected to execute it.
Chain of Command is not just a modern day reality – it was a fact of military life back in the time of Jesus as well:
When He had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, appealing to Him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
And He said to him, “I will come and heal him.
But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:5-9).
Then the centurion is applauded by Jesus for having so much faith, but I see that he also demonstrates a great understanding of the authority of Christ and the natural order of things.
This is what Yahweh has to say about His own authority (here He is addressing King Cyrus of Persia, who would eventually release the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity):
For the sake of My servant Jacob,
and Israel My chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides Me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know Me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides Me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:4-7)
Elohim, the Creator, has authority over all His creation, including us: You are the LORD, You alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You (Nehemiah 9:6). He has made each one of us for a purpose; He gave us life and He determines the way, and the course, and the length of this life (Psalm 139; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesian 2:10).
Yahweh has authority over everything, including us – that is the natural order of things. In the Chain of Command, there is no one higher than He. As Ruler over all, He has determined that the family, and the church, the workplace, and the governing authorities are part of His Chain of Command – this is also the natural order of things (Ephesians 5, 6). “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).
So what does this mean to us, here in The Family Workshop? Remember, the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility. It’s simple to understand, but sometimes hard to live, if you have a rebellious streak like me. And our society is set against this way, so it can be easy to mentally brush it aside. But God’s Chain of Command is like gravity – you can argue with it, but you won’t win. Here is the line of authority: We are all under God’s authority and power. The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church. The parents are over the children. The governing authorities are chosen by God for His purposes. In the workplace, the master (or boss) is over those who serve him (Ephesians 5, 6).
Often forgotten is the line of responsibility. We must answer for how we have dealt with those over whom we have authority; we are held accountable for the way we lead them and teach them, and the example we set for them. We must be good stewards of these responsibilities given to us. Jesus spoke in a parable to His disciples, about being a faithful steward, or manager. Here He explains what the parable means:
The Master said, “Let me ask you: Who is the dependable manager, full of common sense, that the master puts in charge of his staff to feed them well and on time? He is a blessed man if when the master shows up he’s doing his job. But if he says to himself, ‘The master is certainly taking his time,’ begins maltreating the servants and maids, throws parties for his friends, and gets drunk, the master will walk in when he least expects it, give him the thrashing of his life, and put him back in the kitchen peeling potatoes. (Luke 12:42-46, The Message). My kiddos loved this translation of the passage and voted for it over the others, all of which had the bad manager cut into pieces and thrown out with the unbelievers. 😉
We should remember that, in everything, we answer to the LORD for what we do:
- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong…there is no favoritism [with God] (Colossians 3:23-25).
- So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:10).
- Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).
In the Word, The LORD has set forth guiding principles. Jesus said,”if you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). That means we must keep them, and we are required to teach others to keep them as well (especially within the family).
So, with all of this in mind, here is the next section in the Home Builder’s Agreement that we have created for our family:
4. I acknowledge that I am accountable to God for the example I set, the life I lead, and the state of my relationships with others.
- I know it to be true that God is Sovereign and has all authority over me, and my life.
- I rely on the grace and character of God, the example and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit to mold me into a useful vessel.
- I know that every choice is important: choices create habits and habits determine character.
- God’s standard for my behavior extends to my relationships with others, especially within my family. I am responsible for the way that I glorify Him in my relationships with others.
- Anyone who sees me should know, by my words and my example, to Whom I belong.