As we move through the events of this election day, we will experience a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from fear for the future to anger in the present. As a follower of Jesus, these emotions hold incredible power in revealing something that I need to know – where is my hope centered? After I have exhausted all my responsibility as a citizen of the United States to vote, my emotions will now reveal where I have placed my hope.
Jesus wanted to make sure His disciples learned to self-assess their own emotions when He said: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). In the context, Jesus is speaking of being careful that material possessions don’t become a hope-inducing addiction since these possessions are temporary and sporadic. Therefore, Jesus tells His disciples to “lay up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20a). I don’t know about you, but I need to hear that truth on this day. How exactly do I achieve socking away celestial loot? While there are many helpful Kingdom-inducing activities in Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5-8, there are three things that are prominent.
First, make your priority today to “seek His Kingdom…” (Matthew 6:33). What does this mean? Pray that God’s “Kingdom come” and that His “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (see 6:10). Then, after all the votes are tallied, and the winners are announced, you can rest in the outcome that God’s sovereign plan is moving forward… not because based on the outcome of the earthly election but by faith that the Lord’s will is being done. When we invest in Kingdom-wanting prayer, we can rest in earthly-oriented elections.
Second, “do not be anxious for anything” (Matthew 6:35). “Anything” includes elections! The people that Jesus is addressing would have to travel to the local market, choose from what was being offered, and, if they could afford it, prepare and eat it the same day since it would not last long. Today, we have numerous options within a few miles of where we live in drive-through restaurants and supermarkets. Jesus turns the crowd’s attention to the way God cares for the birds of the air and how “your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). When anxiety swells within you, remember this truth and repent (change your mind) of what you are thinking that is inspiring how you are feeling. All anxiety flows from misunderstanding the power and love of God. Therefore, spend time reading God’s Word, passages that drip with truths that exalt our Lord’s power and love. Passages like…
“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom and by his understanding, stretched out the heavens.” Jeremiah 51:15
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my Strength, will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me, steadfast love.” Psalms 59:16-17
“The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” Psalm 93:1-2
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:1-3
Finally, do good for someone else in the next few days. Jesus wants His disciples to know their role in society: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Being a light might entail asking someone how you can pray for them or buying someone a cup of coffee – letting them know that because Jesus freely paid for your sins that you want to freely pay for their coffee. The “good work” might be buying groceries for a single parent you know who struggles to make ends meet. Maybe you know someone who is having car trouble and how you might help get their car fixed or help purchase another vehicle? The opportunities for doing good are everywhere! As you enter into “being Jesus” to someone in this way, you will find the tally-tension from election day will recede from being the focal point of your mind.
May I encourage you with one more thing to consider doing? While the election results will reverberate over the next few days (with lingering effects traveling into the future), consider the fact that the soul of your neighbor, co-worker, friends, and family will exist into eternity. What if we employed the energy for this election into a passion for seeing people exposed to the Gospel? Take time and use the momentum of this moment to turn the conversation from temporal issues like the election to eternal issues that will affect souls. It might go something like this: “Do you know that there is something that will affect your life a million times more than the election? Would you be interested in knowing what that is? The person might respond, “What?” To which you reply, “The condition of your soul now and after you die.” Take the issue on everyone’s mind – the election, and think of ways to leverage it into sharing the Gospel. When we do this, the anxiety of the election will be swallowed up in Kingdom living.