This week was election week in the U.S. Americans had the chance to cast their ballot and effect change all over the country. Voting is such an amazing freedom and a blessing. However, I feel like voting has become a sacred cow in America. The amount of fervor in America over voting and elections can sadly distract Christians and have some negative consequences. I wanted to address this potential idol and consider if we have allowed American ideals to cloud out Christian ones.
First, I think voting can become dangerous when people think voting is the best way to serve their country. Voting is one way to serve your country, but it is certainly not the best. Jesus, THE service expert, did not model a life of civil service by casting votes and signing petitions. Jesus got his hands dirty. He met needs. Mark 1:40-42 tells us a story of Jesus healing a man with leprosy. Notice how Jesus did it: “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” (verse 41). Lepers were considered untouchables in 1st century Jewish culture. Jesus did not have to touch the man, (Jesus heals the centurion’s servant in Luke 7 just by his word). Yet, Jesus breaks with cultural norms, (sacred cows), to serve and provide for someone.
The best way to “Make America Great Again” is not by voting or by putting your hope in some fallen human to be elected to a particular office. The best way to serve our country is by actively engaging with those who are marginalized and in need. Have a homeless person over for dinner. Pick up trash downtown. Go visit an orphanage. Or better yet, foster or adopt! Consider who the “untouchables” are in our society today and go meet their needs. Instead of voting to help these people, let us go and help them ourselves.
Second, voting can be dangerous when it is the only way someone deals with an issue. When Jesus saw the blind, deaf and lame, he didn’t decide to petition the Jewish or Romans governments to create new social laws and have people vote about these laws. Instead, Jesus got busy helping, loving and serving. James 2:14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
I think the current abortion issue is the clearest example of this today. Many Christians will cast their vote against abortion and against any candidate who supports abortion. These same Christians are unwilling to go and tell others about the atrocities of abortion, adopt or foster or do something to help a young pregnant girl. While voting is a great place to start, it cannot be an excuse for our inactivity.
While voting is an American calling, serving is a Christian one and must be given greater priority. I am by no means telling you not to vote. Instead, I am calling you to understand what voting is and how truly limited it is in the Kingdom of God. Romans 14:12 says, “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” When we stand before our Creator, I cannot imagine God asking us “Did you vote?” I can imagine Him asking us “Did you love and serve those I placed in your life? Did you take care of the marginalized in society?” (Matthew 25).