Bible Reading of the Day: Read Romans 13:1-7.

Verse of the Day: “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7, NIV).

Kay was horrified. Only two days of school had passed, and already she’d been sent to the principal’s office.

The lunchroom lady, Mrs. Vanderhorn, had accused her of making a rude gesture behind her back. Kay was embarrassed by the woman’s accusation, and she was terrified of going to the principal’s office. Everyone at school said the new principal was tough.

She entered the principal’s office, carrying in her hand the piece of paper detailing the lunch lady’s report. After a few moments, one of the office staff ushered her into the principal’s office. Kay shut the door behind her and turned to face the new principal.

“You?” Kay asked. The word was out of her mouth before she could stop it.

“Hello, Kay!” Mrs. White said, smiling broadly and looking as surprised as Kay.

Kay’s mouth hung open. Mrs. White had been her counselor at a Christian camp the summer before last. She had heard that the new principal’s name was Mrs. White, but she had never suspected that it would be the woman who had been her camp counselor.

They chatted for a few moments, then Mrs. White gingerly took the report from Kay’s fingers. Kay flushed with embarrassment as Mrs. White read it.

“Did you do what this report says you did?” Mrs. White asked.

“No, ma’am,” Kay answered. “I don’t know why she thinks I did, but…”

The principal waved the paper back and forth slowly in the air. She seemed to be thinking. Finally, she spoke. “Kay,” she said seriously, “the summer I was your counselor at camp, I probably got to know more than a hundred girls, and I don’t remember one who was more polite and respectful than you were.”

Kay smiled shyly at Mrs. White.

“That hasn’t changed, has it?” Mrs. White asked.

“No, ma’am,” Kay said. “I don’t think so.”

Mrs. White smiled warmly. “I don’t think so either,” she said. “I’ll talk to Mrs. Vanderhorn.”

“Oh, thank you, Mrs. White,” Kay gushed. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. And now I think you’d better get to class.” Kay nodded and turned to leave. She stopped as she opened the door and turned with a smile. “Welcome to Stuart School,” she said.

“Thank you,” the new principal answered.

TO DISCUSS: Do you think it’s always easy to show respect? Why or why not? Do you think showing respect always “pays off”? Why or why not? How can you show respect to those in authority (school, government, church, and so on)?

TO PRAY: “Heavenly Father, help us to respect those in authority over us, even when respect doesn’t come easily.”