I once had a boss who, poking fun of my infatuation with limited government, told me that if I ever get elected to be governor, my first act of office would be to do away with the office.
Thinking strictly from a political point of view, the shutdown doesn’t bother me all that much. After all, I like limited government. You can’t get much more limited than a shutdown.
But Christians are never to think strictly from a political point of view. Yes, there are times when we are to think politically but there are never times when we don’t have to think biblically. Thinking biblically about the government shutdown means that we think about our neighbor.
In other words, we need to put our political opinions to the side and think about people who are missing paychecks because of the shutdown. We need to do more than think about them. We need to pray for them. We need to do what we can to help them.
This morning on Twitter, an influential political thinker wrote something along the lines of people whose lives are turned upside down by missing one or two paychecks needing to grow up and stop being dumb.
Christians must not be led astray by this kind of thinking. Can you imagine telling that to the 20-year-old who just joined the Coast Guard and has been sending a big chunk of her paycheck back home to help her sick mother? Or how about to the U.S. Marshal who is trying to provide for a family of 4 on one salary? Somethings are more easily Tweeted than they are spoken, proving yet again that keyboard warriors aren’t just on the political left. It appears that all of that rambling many conservatives have been doing about, “Backing the Blue” was just talk because when it comes to “the blue” not getting paid, they look the other way.
Rather than empathizing, many Christians would rather pick a side in this political stalemate. This is foolish and leads to hypocrisy. Instead of contorting our integrity in order to excuse our favorite politician’s culpability in this nonsense while at the same time condemning his counterpart for doing the exact same thing, we would do better to remove the elephant or donkey blinders from our eyes and see this for what it is–a government in desperate need of prayer.
Paul didn’t tell Timothy to pray for his political leaders because he couldn’t think of anything better to say. He said it because political leaders need prayer. He said it because we need to be praying for them. It’s hard to hate or idolize someone who you are consistently praying for. While the left is stewing in their hatred of President Trump, believing him to be the AntiChrist and many on the right are busy squinting real hard to convince themselves that he is the Messiah, authentic Christians need to avoid both idolatrous traps and pray.
We have a fine system of government. I believe it to be the best in world history. But our government is made up people who are terribly flawed, just like the rest of us. The constant bickering, pandering, and childishness from both parties will not end well. We need to pray for leaders who will lead in humility and submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Christian, your ultimate hope is not found in Washington D.C. You have a living hope that will never perish or fade away, kept in heaven for you. Let it be that hope, not your political ideology, that defines you.
When we build our house on the sinking sand of politics, we forget about the young man in the Coast Guard who’s not getting paid. Unless of course his story somehow helps our political agenda.
But when we build our house on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, we will be quick to put our politics to the side in order to love our neighbor.
Before we are ever known for our political leanings, may our love for God and neighbor be evident. Now is as good a time as any to get to work on that.