Even as a child I recognized the difference between a payment for work, a right, and an allowance.  An allowance seemed to me, even as a child who shoveled a block of side walk for a quarter, to be a condescending action that made the one receiving it an object to be controlled and maybe pitied.  To receive payment for work was am acknowledgement that one fulfilled a need and therefore compensation.  Paul brings this into a theological arena in his discussion about grace, in Romans 4 – “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”  If I can earn salvation it is a payment for services received but grace is a gift given even to the ungodly enemies of the giver of every good gift.  An allowance always seemed to me to be a bribe of sorts, even when admonistered by God’s representatives, parents.  The friends I had that got allowances were consistently under the threat of allowance removal, cancellation, or as a modified kind of bribe; get an A in math or no allowance.  So I was struck by the Minnesota Governor’s “decree” yesterday about the Corona virus, part of which read;

“Among the people allowed to continue to work under the Governor’s executive order: “Faith leaders and workers. This category includes officials, workers, and leaders in houses of worship and other places of religious expression or  fellowship, wherever their services may be needed. This category also  includes workers necessary to plan, record, and distribute online or broadcast  content to community members.”

There are great theological discussions going on among pastors revolving around the duties implied in the 3rd, 4th and 5th commandments.  You can read them and ask yourself the same questions pastors are asking.  There are also questions being asked among politicians and others about the nature and extent of State Governor’s power to supersede Constitutional rights and in what circumstances?  Most glaring right now is the Governor of New York wondering out loud if the lock down of his state was wise, or prudent, or even effective.  All these things will be hashed out in the future or at least more calmly debated.  But, until then I guess all we can say to the Governor of Minnesota is , “thank you your grace”,