Yes, it seems a bit early, but once again we’re scrutinizing presidential candidates, weighing whether they’ll make good leaders.
For just a minute or two, though, let’s imagine the roles are reversed. Imagine the candidates scrutinizing us.
What I mean is this: Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to lead people like us?
Christians have a biblical mandate to be exemplary citizens; it’s a key part of our ability to show the nature of Jesus Christ to our countrymen. It saddens me to see so many of us have lost this perspective.
So once more I posit this: Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to lead people like us?
In God’s way of doing things, good citizenship begins with a right attitude: “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling” (Titus 3:1-2, NLT).
Frankly, some of the most slanderous, quarrelsome opinions of our government leaders are sent to my email box almost daily by other Christians. Sophomoric jokes, unproven accusations and even simplistic calls for civil disobedience have become a mainstay in some conservative Christian circles.
Yet the Bible, we would have others believe, tells us such behavior discredits our faith.
God says this: “… pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NLT).
Can you imagine how the tenor of American politics would change if more Christians heeded the call to face government challenges with prayer and faith in God? What a happy alternative that is to the critical, uncooperative spirit so common in our nation today.
In the life of Jesus, we see what it looks like to put others’ interests ahead of our own. He selflessly set aside his rights so that others could be blessed. And he calls us to do the same.
Yet it seems that our nation’s economic demise is a direct result of citizens demanding what benefits them, unwilling to yield for the good of all. Regrettably, some Christians have this same attitude, decrying the nation’s insolvency, all the while insisting that their own government checks keep coming undiluted.
I have a good friend who works hard at a fairly low-paying job to support his family. He easily qualifies for food stamps, but has chosen not to accept that benefit for two reasons: With hard work, creativity and help from others, he’s surviving; and the government simply cannot afford to keep handing out money.
He has set aside his own benefits for the good of all. And he’s showing his neighbors what it looks like for a Christian to truly trust in his God rather than his government. May his kind increase!
It is a complicated issue for sure, but it seems that a Christian’s attitude toward government “entitlements” is an important part of honoring our leaders. Christians ought not to be those siphoning government resources simply because they are available, or calling for fiscal responsibility while selfishly protecting their own interests.
In the months ahead, as next year’s presidential race picks up steam, let’s carefully and intelligently scrutinize those candidates jockeying for the privilege of leading us.
But let’s also remember that good leaders so often are made by good followers.
As we ask candidates the tough questions, may we also ask ourselves from time to time: What’s it like to lead people like us?
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