Well, the mid term election is (thankfully) over. My mailbox will not be furnishing the same quantity of fire starter paper as it did the past several months. The frequency of “robo-calls” will diminish and maybe people will settle down. In reading the news tonight (11/7) I was astounded at the enormous amount of money that was spent by all parties in the run up to the vote. All I could think about was what that could have done if it had been spent on feeding the hungry, upgrading highways, locks, bridges, schools and dams. And particularly troubling to me has been the vitriol coming from all sorts of people who ought to know better. Especially within God’s church and within families. At least with the election behind us Thanksgiving might be more agreeable for most of us this year. I cant help but think that most of the passion and energy that was just expended was a “tempest in a teapot” when looked at in light of eternity. Yes principles matter. As your pastor I do have strong political opinions. But I am far more interested in preaching the gospel and doing my best to faithfully teach the word of God to His people than I am in trying too influence your vote. Paul sought to find common ground with all people in the hope that God would reach them. I don’t care if you are a supporter or Nancy Pelosi or President Trump, Christ died for you. And, as Christians God wants us to be charitable toward all, not merely those with whom we agree.
Think about Jesus. He conducted His earthly ministry in a nation that was a political minefield. The Herodians, the Sadducees, Pharisees and Zealots, fought a social, political, cultural and spiritual battle for influence in Judea. In the words of Dr. Tony Evans, Jesus did not come to take sides, He came to take over. People tried to find out where He stood relative to their oral traditions, to control of the temple, regarding the Roman occupation, collaboration with the Roman authorities etc. When He refused to take sides they sought to discredit, neutralize or destroy Him. About all the varied parties seemed to agree upon was that Jesus was dangerous and had to go. Satan took Him up to the pinnacle of the temple and offered Him the world - if He would bow down and worship him. Jesus could have it all (according to Satan) without going to the cross. Jesus rebuked him and sent him packing.
Think about Peter and Paul. Although they endured the opposition of Jew and Gentile alike, as well as that of the state, they commanded the church to pray for their political leaders. All of them (1 Tim 2, 1 Pet 2). They counseled obedience to duly constituted authority (so long as such obedience did not involve disobedience to God). “Fear God and honor the king.”
In all the political and social turmoil do not lose sight of the larger picture. Our purpose here is to love God and love our neighbor. If we love God we will love Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior. Our neighbor is everyone! Even those on the other side of the political fence. While I would be gratified had my candidate / party triumphed at the polls, it is more important to me (and it should be to all of us) to be Christ to my neighbor and to seek his/her good. I never want to push someone away from Christ for the sake of my political opinions. As believers we all need to take an eternal view as opposed to a merely temporal one. Think back over the past 40 years (If you are old enough). Can you name all the presidential and vice presidential candidates that ran over that period of time? Most of us wold be hard pressed to do it.
“Beloved, let us love one another.” By all means, study up on issues. Pray. Vote. If you are so led, get involved promoting the things that you believe in. But, be gracious and remember what is truly and eternally most important. Tony