How will you vote? Before you vote, it might be enlightening to study the voting records of the candidates. After all, which is likely to be the most accurate predictor of future performance, new promises, or old votes? History has a stubborn way of repeating itself. If we want to know how the future might look, we should look carefully at the past! Talk is cheap, votes can be costly. Promises have no consequences, commitments do. Cast your votes accordingly.
Not planning to vote? Actually, not voting is a vote. And surprising to some, we all vote all the time! We vote by what we do and we vote by what we don’t do. For instance, I voted when I sent in my quarterly tax payment recently. I vote when I don’t let my congressman know what is important for our country, from my point of view. I vote when I purchase car insurance. I vote when I don’t obey the speed limit. I vote when I don’t pray for those in authority. Mark it down: not doing something casts a vote just as much as doing something does!
And what’s true in the political arena, is also true in the spiritual realm. Our actions, or lack thereof, speak volumes about what is truly important to us. I vote when I study my Bible, and I vote when I don’t. I vote when I pray, and then again when I don’t. I vote when I attend worship services and Bible studies, and I vote when I don’t. I vote when I give (and by how much I give), and I vote when I don’t give anything. I vote when I share my faith openly, and I vote when I keep it to myself.
There’s an old adage that seems helpful in this area of thinking. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Our actions, or voting record, becomes the evidence of our identity and what is important to us.
It seems to me that we would all do well to value voting records above promises and good intentions, especially if we seek truth over rhetoric: about others, and certainly about ourselves. After all, the scriptures put a high premium on obedience, not plans, nor pretense. Accordingly, God will reward us on the basis of what we actually did, not what we merely intended to do. And on the flip side, God will judge us not only for what we did, but also for what we didn’t do.
Sometimes our actions shout so loudly, our words are cancelled out. And so it should be. That’s why voting records are so revealing. Let’s pay close attention to improving our voting records, and let’s make sure our walk complements our talk!
Bruce Hendrich is pastor at Oak Street Baptist Church 804 Oak Street • Elizabethon, TN 37643 • 423.542.4022 • oakstreetbaptist.net