Today, we will hit the polls and cast our vote for the most powerful leader in the free world.
That’s a lot of pressure. It might be good to step back a minute. Take a breath.
Because even though it seems like there’s a lot on the line, there’s no reason for us to despair or curl up in a corner with fear and anxiety (and Vino). Why? Because, as Christians, our vote is already cast.
It gives me hope to think about the way Jesus treated earthly political leaders. Because, well, he barely acknowledged them at all. Let me explain.
Jesus only called out a national leader one time in all of the New Testament accounts.
Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s…
Not a whole lot to go on there. In my opinion, Jesus was throwing shade at the Roman Empire by barely acknowledging it in any of his conversations, teachings or parables.
Why? Because there was always a bigger government to discuss in the Kingdom of God. The Roman Empire—and all governments past, present and future—were inadequate, imperfect and temporary compared to the Kingdom of God. A blip on the screen of eternity.
If Scripture tells us anything, Jesus would’ve stayed silent on this whole election and chosen, instead, to talk about the real Kingdom at hand. He might’ve said something in passing like, “Let Donald have what’s Donald’s or Hillary what’s Hillary’s,” but I doubt he would’ve said much more.
Jesus didn’t protest Caesar and he likely wouldn’t have made angry memes about Hillary (you know who you are) or slighted Trump on Facebook or shared all the conspiracy-centered video clips on his social media feed.
Instead, Jesus would’ve talked about bringing the heart of God down to earth. Doing the hard work of loving our enemies, caring for the least of these, coming alongside the orphaned and helpless, speaking the name of Jesus with winsome boldness, paving the way for the Kingdom to truly come.
Seriously, I don’t think Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would’ve been on Jesus’ radar much more than Caesar.
So why are we so consumed by them?
As humans, we’ve always chosen the tangible over the intangible, the visible over the invisible, when it comes to kings and rulers. We want something or someone we can see, touch, watch and follow.
Remember the Israelites? God wanted to be their ruler, their king, their everything, but they were still like, “That’s great and all, but, um, yeah, can we still have that real king?”
So God gave them a king.
Fast forward. When Jesus started his earthly ministry, the people thought he’d come to overthrow the Roman Empire as the battle born warrior-King they’d been waiting for, but instead, Jesus gave them a meek and humble servant.
Everyone kept getting Jesus’ message wrong because they expected a revolution, with a revolutionary, to break their bondage and make them the winning team—finally defeating Rome. And, to be accurate, that’s just what Jesus came to do, but in a very different—and greater—way.
But many of us are still looking for that battle born king or queen to rule us. We’re still looking for that tangible leader to champion our causes and fight for our rights.
I know I’m guilty.
The only problem? God is still saying, “I’m your King. I’m the Ruler you need. Trust me. Honor me. Live for me.”
And we’re still saying, “That’s great and all, but we still want a real king. None of this meek and mild stuff.”
As the Israelites go, so do we.
But it could be different.
What if we traded the hope and anxiety we’ve placed in this election and exchanged it for a government that’s eternal, perfect, never-fading and good beyond our imagination.
What if, instead of unpacking our despair, anger or contempt on Facebook, we poured out our praise to the already-elected King of the universe who calls us his people?
Sometimes I need to stop and let this sink deep into my soul. The very God of all creation calls me his son and you his sons and daughters.
The one who gave his life to a corrupt government to subvert the powers of sin. The one who calls the prostitute, daughter, and the porn addict, son. The one whose benefits far outweigh any tax break or healthcare plan conceivable by man. The one who calls every wicked person and unjust system to account. The one who cares about all life from the womb to the grave—and in every location, color, form and function. And the one who reigns on the throne, perfectly, with grace and strength forever?
That’s not to demean the voting process. Voting is a great privilege. But we need to put the action of voting in the right category of importance, under our allegiance to our true King. So vote (if you haven’t already). Do your duty as a citizen. Vote through prayer and wisdom. Wear the sticker. Pray for our country. Submit to our leaders. But don’t make them into something more than they are—human beings appointed by God for the good (hopefully) of human flourishing.
And make certain the vote you cast isn’t for a king.
Because we already have one.