On 11 January 2021, two words accidentally earned a tiny firm 527% profit in shares over night.
When South African tech-guru and multi-billionaire Elon Musk tweeted “Use Signal”, investors worldwide rushed to buy stocks in Signal Advance. Although the company was literally unknown in the financial arena prior that moment, the intensity of demand drove prices through the roof.
Elon Musk was referring to “Signal”, an encrypted messaging app striving to be an alternative to Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. However, it was “Signal Advance”, a small medical device company that ended up in the trading spotlight.
While news headlines focused on the hilarious but colossal benefits from the public’s misinterpretation, what caught my eye was the public’s response. It’s obvious that none of the investors scrambling for Signal Advance stocks did their homework. Everyone literally put their money where Elon Muck’s mouth was. They forked out millions of dollars, putting their financial security on the line in blind faith by taking Musk at (what they assumed was) his word. The immediate, unquestioned and intense response to Elon Musk’s position caused me to compare it to the response God’s people have to His word.
Lack of Trust
It's obvious why people are quick to follow Elon Musk’s lead when it comes to investments. His tremendous and sustained success has earned him global respect for his financial know-how. We trust that whatever stock he has his eye on is a winner on the market.
In the same way, and for the same reason, authority should be based on trust. But unfortunately, we do not trust most authority figures (especially political ones). People my age and younger don’t even like the concept of authority.
Baby with the Bathwater
Part of this rejection of authority is due to our inbred rebellion and iniquity as human beings. However, it is also partially in response to witnessing and suffering under perverse and damaging abuse of authority in different spheres of our lives. We therefore associate submission to authority with exposing ourselves to abuse, whether its family relationships, professional networks or church leadership.
Instead of rejecting the selfishness, pride and manipulation that pervert authority, we reject the notion of “authority” in its entirety and throw out the baby with the bathwater.
We tend to exclusively see authority as only pertaining to people who outrank us in certain respects (e.g. boss at work, pastor at church, husband in church). But there are other elements of authority that, when considered, will subsequently widen our perspective on how it is manifested in spheres of our lives.
Authority begins with God and comes from God (Romans chapter 13 verse 1) since no one can be in a position of authority unless He allows it. To take that point further, God directs and allows people to hold positions in our lives, not just positions of authority. Ultimately, submitting to authority is accepting the role that God has designated people to play in our lives, and aligning our attitudes and actions towards those people with God’s will.
Hard Science, Soft Hearts
We don’t question who our biological parents are. Irrespective of how much we like them, how well they treat us or how often we interact with them, we do not contest that they are our parents. And as Christians, we should honour them just because of their position in our lives, not their performance.
In the same way we accept and submit to the role our parents play in our lives based on biology, we should submit to the roles God has ordained others to play our lives. This is with respect to the nature and duration of each relationship, e.g. who God has assigned someone to be our friend or co-worker or pastor, as well as how long that relationship should last.
To submit to God’s authority over our relationships, we need to know which relationships He has actually ordained. The confidence we have in hard science to inform us of our biological parents should be the same confidence we have in God’s direction over other roles people play in our lives (professional, spiritual, emotional etc). That requires the skill recognise God’s voice and soft hearts to receive His word.
It’s one thing to hear and know what to do; it’s another to obey it, especially when it is costly. The only way we can obey God is to trust God (Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6).
Trust God’s power over our financial security when our boss undermines us.
Trust God’s wisdom when He instructs us to leave in a comfortable and convenient church.
Trust God’s compassion to change hearts (whether ours or others’) when we confront painful and intractable issues with our family members.
Even when we lose comforts, pleasures and fleeting moments of happiness, we can rest assured in God’s authority to powerfully, wisely and compassionately make all things work for our good (Romans chapter 8 verse 28). Exceedingly and abundantly beyond Elon Musk, God’s track record is impressive and impeccable. He deserves and demands our trust.
Trust funds obedience. Trust is the capital that we invest in God, and it always has returns according to His good, perfect and pleasing will (Romans chapter 12 verse 2).
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). She performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences, and in 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica thus far. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. In January 2021, Kacy launched Caribbean Christian Response, an online movement that reviews the news from a biblical worldview and gathers millennials across the region to pray together and seek God’s heart on these issues.