This entry is part of a series of blogs that connect political volunteering with spiritual themes. These observations come from my current volunteering for a congressional candidate. Today’s thought: Not much good happens when I just sit around.
I’ll be honest: I sat out the last election. Sure, I voted with due deliberation about candidates and their positions. But I didn’t have any skin in the game—I watched from the sidelines, willing to let others carry the freight of campaigning. I regret that choice. Or more honestly, that non-choice—I was content to think positively, to denigrate those who were angry and fearful, to pray that God would punish egotists, liars and miscreants. I trusted God’s providence and did nothing. Not only was my theology skewed, but my understanding of being a follower of Christ was off-base.
It’s a few years later now, and this time around I’m part of an energized crew of volunteers in my locale who are giving heart and soul to elect a replacement for the congressional incumbent from our district. With my spouse, I’ve canvassed door-to-door in several neighborhoods, phoned hundreds of prospective voters and distributed yard signs, window signs, campaign buttons, bumper stickers and campaign literature. I’ve taken stock of the places and people where I am listened to, helped comfort other campaign workers and contributed to the campaign. Not sitting around this time.
Think of what the writer of the Book of James wrote in his letter, “My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith?” (2:14). While salvation comes from faith alone, the will of God for the world takes shape when faith-filled work gets done. In politics as well as the rest of life, the Spirit’s inspiration fills people and compels them to actions. Fully informed by faith, God’s people—including those of us well along in years—get to work so that what God wants gets done. Politics included.
This time around, I’m trusting in God as before—but this time relying on the Spirit to motivate me. This time around, I’m thinking positively and acting that way in every encounter I have with voters. This time around, I am praying for God’s judgment on evildoers, but am also ready to confess humbly that I might become like them.
This time around, I’ll still be sitting. But it will be with a phone in my hand. This time around, I’ll sit when I need a rest—campaigning is hard work. This time around, I’ll sit when I’m writing these blogs!
That’s what I’m doing for now. In a little while, though, I’ll be back in action, hoping that my volunteering will help bring about changes that send this nation back toward its moorings and its sense of responsibility for the world.
Let me invite you to consider NOT sitting out this election, instead getting up off your duff and being part of the volunteers in your locale who are campaigning. Using your God-given gifts for the good of others, so that God’s will refreshes this nation with righteousness.
From my vantage point, politics is not a game filled with sideline rocking-chairs or recliners. When it comes to this part of God’s work getting done, it seems to me that we’re called to be players as well as observers.
From where I sit, stand, walk, canvass and phone, that feels encouraging!
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