The king then sent a third captain with his fifty men. For a third time, a captain with his fifty approached Elijah. This one fell on his knees in supplication: "O Holy Man, have respect for my life and the souls of these fifty men! Twice now lightning from out of the blue has struck and incinerated captains with their fifty men; please, I beg you, respect my life!" 2 Kings 1:13-14 (MSG)
My wife and I have been involved in community theater for several years. We've served administratively on the board of directors and have directed and produced a number of shows. One of the challenging parts of directing a show is choosing a small cast from a large host of people who audition. Most actors in my community are wonderful people to work with. There are those individuals, however, who walk into the audition with attitude to spare, expecting you to cast them in the leading role. If you don't, they throw a tantrum and threaten legal action (right, as if that's just the kind of person I want to work with every night on stage for six weeks).
Throughout the journey, I've had opportunity to be in positions of leadership in family, church, work and community. As a leader or manager, nothinge turns me on edge faster than being approached by someone with an attitude of disrespectful expectation. Requests are phrased as demands, as if they are rights. Humility is absent as appeals are made as a challenge to your authority.
The first two captains sent to Elijah approached him with attitude, demanding his audience with the king. The subtext of their attitude was that the spiritual should bow to the temporal. God, and his servant, should bow to the king's demand. Pride. Expectation. The first two captains' attitude was a word-picture of the root problem. The king and his men had no respect for God and His power.
How do I approach those in authority over me? How do I approach God?