When Paul wrote the following admonition to Timothy the Jewish people were under Roman rule. Rome allowed the Jews to pray for the Emperor’s health without praying and sacrificing to him.
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (I Timothy 2:1).
The Jews and Gentiles who became Christians did not have elections; they did not have a choice on who will govern them.
Today we are privileged to choose the leaders to whom we will entrust stewardship of vast government resources and the formulation of far-reaching public policies. I’d like to offer some thoughts as we navigate our way through the campaign promises, slogans and debates that we hear and read about day after day.
• The right to vote recognizes the equality of all citizens. It is important that no one is deprived of the right to speak and be heard, regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status.
• “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” (Luke 12:48). The global reality is that what happens in the USA impacts the lives of people even in unheard of places in the planet in some way; thus compared to other nations much more is expected from American national leaders and those who elect them.
• Whether we vote or decide not to vote we will share some responsibility for the actions of candidates who will be elected. While we cannot know everything about every issue or every candidate, we can keep ourselves informed. As a preacher once said let us hold the Bible on one hand, and the newspaper on the other.
• Our vision is a peaceful, godly and dignified life for all so that the Gospel can be freely proclaimed. This is something not to be taken for granted. In a non-Christian south Asian country where I was running a UN-sponsored poverty alleviation seminar I was privately asked by a participant if I was a Christian missionary and subtly warned not to do any mission work.
• It is possible that Christians may choose candidates on opposing party platforms. This need not lessen our respect nor our love for the sister/brother whose political view differs from ours. Our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ supersedes our faith in any candidate or political platform. When we get to heaven only love for Christ and for one another will prevail.
• When we take part diligently and prayerfully in the selection of national leaders God can use us to bring about the petition “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). It is God’s will that all people enjoy the abundant life (John 10:10).
I am sure we can add more to these thoughts. May Christ the Ruler of all nations guide our hearts and minds as we journey through this election season.