It is Super Tuesday II. Now even the days are making sequels.
Today millions of people will be voting in their primaries or caucuses, and if you are a Christian then you have a moral responsibility to your faith to be there. Let me explain:
1. As Christians, we have clear responsibility to do certain things for our government.
1 Timothy 2:2, Romans 13:1-7, Mark 12:17 give clear instruction to Christians regarding praying for those in authority and being obedient to the governing authority so long as it is within our power and Christian morals to do so.
But is this really where our obligation ends? During this election season I’ve heard many pastors express that this is the fulfillment of our responsibility to our government. The problem though is that stopping here doesn’t take in a holistic view of scripture having application in everyday life. So let us see if we can get a little more big-picture, shall we?
2. We have the responsibility to be faithful with what God has given us in life.
In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), a manager calls three servants, gives them different amounts of his money to manage while he is away, and then leaves. Two of the servants go out and double the money that they were given, while one goes and buries his money in the ground. When the manager returns he holds the servants accountable to what they were given, and, even though they had been given different amounts, the ones who invested their money he gave the same reward, and the only one who was punished was the one that had done nothing with what he had been given.
The takeaway is that we are called to be faithful. There isn’t one Christian vocation that automatically gives God the most glory, otherwise all the serious Christians would be trying to do the same jobs. What we do know is that God has called us to be faithful with what we have and where we are, which is why Christianity is a comprehensive worldview that can have meaning for all people across time, space and culture.
Dorothy Sayers has a great quote in her essay “Why Work” on the Christian view of a career:
"The Church's approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What he Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his relidion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.
Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly–but what use is all that if in the very center of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth. No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself; for any work that is untrue to its own technique is a living lie.”
Similarly, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 states:
”All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
As Christians, we should be the best employees in the workplace. We should be the leading research scientists, we should be striving to be business executives, and we should be the best artists in the world – not because we want worldly success and wealth, but because have been given the ministry of reconciliation for all things, which means doing our vocations for the glory of God.
For most of us this doesn’t mean putting crosses or verses on the widgets we make, but instead exercising the giftings that we have been given to bless our company, provide for our family, and be an excellent worker to reflect the excellency of the God whose son we strive to be like.
3. Citizenship is part of our call to be faithful.
Hand-in-glove with these ideas is a redemption and reconciliation of our place in history and geography. Most of us didn’t choose to be born in the United States, but here we are. And if you are an American Christian then along with what is spelled out in the Bible for responsibilities of all citizens everywhere to their government, we have a responsibility to seek the redemption and reconciliation of being an American citizen. In our country that can mean many things, but for us right now, it means voting and engaging in the civic discourse that is taking place around us.
Many Evangelicals are afraid regarding the outcome of these elections and what it is showing of us as a people. The only way either of those will change is through engagement; living out the Gospel through our churches, our non-Christian communities, our workplaces, and our citizenship will be a hard road with some discomfort, but ultimately it is the call to reconciliation and discipleship that every one of us has.