In a sermon preached at New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago in 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. urged: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
Every functioning community requires administration. Our text today provides us with a list of many of the officials who assisted David. Some were legal functionaries whose responsibility was to judge cases from the Law of Moses and who probably served outside Jerusalem (26:28–29). Others were made responsible for “every matter pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king” (26:32). They might have been responsible for the collection of tithes and taxes. David’s administrative structure included military commanders, tribal leaders, those who oversaw his properties and storehouses, as well as counselors. David’s leadership was a spiritual matter, but it also had a civil dimension. Part of his shepherding responsibility was to tend to the government of his people.
Scripture teaches that civil government is a reflection of common grace. Civil government serves the common good. One of its benefits is protection. But this kind of administration comes with a cost. This is why paying our taxes is a Christian obligation. For this reason Paul admonishes us: “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Rom. 13:7).