Yesterday I watched the Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary while monitoring reactions on social media. It was interesting to see how either accepting or rejecting this particular Cabinet pick was taken so personally by so many.
Speaking of taking things personally, the same time I was glued to the TV my wife was a thousand miles away helping some of her family make funeral arrangements. The whirlwind of the past couple of days has helped me put all this political debate into its proper perspective.
So far this year, averaging nearly weekly, either someone close to me has passed away or someone close to someone close to me. Three in the past week alone. As hard as this has been, it has been good reminder that our lives are "but a mist" (James 4:14). That while we debate politics online, people in the real world are suffering- physically, emotionally, or spiritually- and our time is limited to do anything about it.
This isn't meant to diminish what I see are legitimate concerns with what is going on in the United States politically. But I think politics have become a sport- you cheer your side and boo the other, and defend your colors proudly to everyone you meet. It has become a distraction- I get too emotionally wrapped up in the latest headline while there is a homeless person on the nearest street corder begging for bread.
What I fear most about this distraction isn't just that it keeps our hearts away from the real needs right in front of us but that it also keeps our eyes from heaven, anticipating the return of Jesus.
Jesus told a parable about a 'rich fool' who plans to build a storehouse for all his grain so he can take it easy in the future. But he is a fool because that future never comes: "You fool! This very night your life will be demand from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (Luke 12:20)
I'm beginning to view politics the same way. We choose who to support based on what we get out of it. But bureaucracy is slow. We won't see the effect of economic policies enacted now for a couple of years at best. The Department of Education won't disappear overnight (despite a bill desiring as much) and even if it did, the local school your child goes to won't just suddenly close. It took a year and a half to craft, debate, and pass a bill for national health care. It took several more months to enact it. We vote for what will benefit us in some future that may never come.
You fools! You vote worrying about your future when your very life may be demanded from you tonight. Or tomorrow. Or in six months.
But what about our children? And their children? These votes aren't just about us, but their future as well! I understand that, I really do. But it begs the question, in what or in whom are you putting your faith?
"Some of you will say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil." (James 4:13-16)
If it is the Lord's will. That's a big if. And for whatever reason, whether you agree with it or not, this administration is God's will*. (Romans 13:1) So is our faith in God or our government?
*note, I have a post on this passage coming, so don't get too hung up on defining "God's will" quite yet
One last thought, as hard as it might be to put into practice the Bible is still true. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these thing will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:33-34)
Don't worry about what politics is going to do about tomorrow. Do what you can to seek first God's kingdom today. Today has enough trouble to deal with, we have to trust God for tomorrow.