The Health Inspector & Authority

Mike Johnson

Many years ago I worked in a meatpacking plant. One responsibility that I had was to roll a vat, which contained tubular molds of lunchmeat, up to an ice bin and then fill the vat with ice. I was told to use a stainless steel shovel which was used exclusively for this task. The plant was patrolled on a regular basis by a health inspector. I was told that I should do whatever he said because he had the power to shut down a production line or even the entire plant if something was not to his liking. On one occasion, when I finished filling the ice bin, I leaned the shovel against a nearby wall with the end resting on a clean-looking cement floor. The inspector happened by and told me that I would need to hang the shovel on a nearby hook so that it would be off of the floor. I said “OK” and did what he said from that point on. However, I could not understand the need for hanging the shovel on a hook with it touching a wall that might not be any cleaner than the floor. I also reasoned that the shovel and the ice never actually touched the food.   Did it matter that the health inspector’s instructions made little sense to me? No, it did not; he was the authority, and I had to do what he said regardless of what I thought about his instructions.

Most people can understand that importance of submitting to earthly authority. Sadly, many do not understand the importance of submitting to the highest authority of all–the authority of God. God is man’s authority whether man wants Him to be or not. God has His authority inherently. God received His authority from no one; God has His authority because of who He is. God is the creator of the universe (Gen. 1:1); He is the owner of all things (Ps. 50:10-12); He is the sustainer of all things (Acts 17:25-28). God certainly has a right to have authority over man. A person may ask, “Who gave God the right to rule over man?” One who would say this does not understand the inherent authority of God.

Today, God remains our authority. He has revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures (II Tim. 3:16-17, I Thess. 2:13, 4:2, 3, 8; I Cor. 14:37) which are the final authority. Our opinion on some issue does not count. It does not matter what we think; the only issue is what the Scriptures say. We must be content to simply submit ourselves to the authority of God!

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