It has been nearly a week now since our country inaugurated a new President in a historic ceremony on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Regardless of each citizen’s personal feelings about the man or his politics, most of us were probably somewhat captivated by witnessing the peaceful transfer of power from one chief executive to another, an open demonstration of the democratic process which our country holds so dear.
Most people with whom I have discussed the recent election and inauguration have strong opinions about President Obama, and perhaps with good cause. For some, his Presidency is greeted with a level of enthusiasm that is only matched by their corresponding disdain for our previous President. For others, he is viewed with suspicion, fear, and extreme dislike because of his liberal economic and social policies. Depending upon where you fall on the political spectrum, you might view President Obama as either a modern-day Moses or a dangerous socialist.
A recent study suggests that college students have become more interested in politics during this election than at any other time in the past forty years. Perhaps the range of challenges affecting the United States contributes to the increased level of campus discussion and activism that has emerged in the past year.
So how do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, respond in such a politically charged atmosphere?
First, we each have a responsibility in our representative form of government to vote and to participate appropriately and respectfully. Part of our responsibility as Christians is to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). While the Gospel is certainly our priority, we can “proclaim” Jesus to the world by speaking up for biblical priorities in political situations. God values human life; He values justice and righteousness and truth; He values holiness. Does the candidate I support intend to reflect such values or to undermine them?
Second, we each are to remember that our true citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20-21). Kings and Presidents will come and go; Jesus Christ and His kingdom will last forever. If our hope is here, then we are bound to be disappointed. But we have a “living hope,” one that is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
This means that our primary responsibility in LIFE is NOT to engage in politics, but to engage in discipleship (Mt 28:18-20). Jesus’ ultimate plan is to begin a new kingdom, not rooted in the systems of this earth. He desires men and women from all nations to come to Him, and He has commissioned us with the task of sharing His message with those around us.
So this week as you go to class, or to work, or to the store, or to your dorm, as yourself this question: Into which kingdom am I investing my time and money and resources, the one that will fade away or the one that will last forever?