It’s important for us to talk about issues of interest to the church and our community. I pray the thoughts I’ve shared here serve to build you up in your faith, and bring blessing as you pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus.
– Pastor Ben
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to acknowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1-6a)
The 2016 Election is upon us. It certainly has been fascinating to say the least. I have never witnessed an election where there have been so many passionate people. At the same time I heard a news re-port saying that there are fewer political yard signs up this election because people fear vandalism. It seems even the most politically apathetic folks have strong opinions, at least about who they will NOT vote for, though the conversation usually leaves me wondering who they will vote for. There is a video circulating on Facebook that puts a humorous twist on how many of us feel. It’s a clip from “Third Rock from the Sun” where the main character agonizes over the responsibility of voting. I had a good laugh watching it and then thought, “May we all take it that seriously.”
In all of this, I want to encourage you to stay positive and optimistic about the future. Toward that end I get great encouragement from the Apostle Paul on this point. In the passage above, Paul reflects the political situation of his day. They couldn’t vote. They had no say over who was in power. They just had to deal with it. All they could do was pray the kings and other authorities did a good enough job that they could live in peace and have quiet lives. This was a big prayer since the Roman authorities were rather mixed in their views on Christianity. Persecution was intermittent throughout the Roman Empire. And yet, God’s people persevered. Regardless of who was running the government, Paul was confident that if given a chance, the godly and holy followers of Jesus would preach Jesus and make his gospel available to all. This goal and desire is still applicable today.
However, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are dual citizens. We are citizens of the United States. “But our citizenship is (also) in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ….” (Philippians 3:20). We are not only responsible to conduct ourselves in a way that will lead people to Christ, we are also responsible for choosing the “kings and all those in authority” over us.
We talk a lot about the right to vote but what we often forget is that every right is an inherent responsibility. Voting is a responsibility because the right to select those who will govern us has great consequences. I want to encourage us to take this responsibility seriously. Not voting does not seem to me to be a responsible option. This is especially true since the reason for the discouragement many feel is due to the presidential race. As important as that is, the rest of the ballot is also critically important. In times like these it is easy to get into a reactionary mode. I would encourage us to take a broad view. By that I mean to look at the whole ballot. The positions listed on that ballot touch our lives in many ways.
So as you approach this election, I encourage you to take it seriously, to engage. Learn what you can about every candidate. Here is the link to see your ballot: http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/ . Please look at it before you vote. Note there are links in this ballot to the websites of some of the candidates. Look at them all! I know it’s hard to find stuff on the “soil and water conservation officer” but do your best (and if you find anything out let me know!). Know what the issues are. Think prayerfully and biblically, not just about the few hot button issues but about every issue. Ask God for wisdom and then vote. And then pray “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Then on November 9, regardless of the outcome, let us live out our calling as citizens of the United States of America and citizens of Heaven.