Edward Everett Hale, American author, historian and minister, penned these familiar words: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” A great word for a voter!
I’m going to do something that I never do. I’m going to write an article on voting, politics. But let me be very clear. My concern is not about who you vote for, but only that you vote. It is both our Christian and American responsibility.
In addition, I am not concerned about how you vote (absentee, early, Election Day). However, I am concerned with why you vote. You see, if the Christian faith is the major resource for our lives as believers, then it should have an impact on us as we enter that voting booth. So what does the faith offer when we vote?
In this article, I’d like to share two thoughts to possibly consider prior to voting.
Christianity is a conviction we live, not so much about opinions we hold!
When the great reformer Martin Luther was dying, severe headaches left him bedridden. In his pain, he was offered a medication to relieve the discomfort. He declined and explained, “My best prescription for head and heart is that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Certainly a deep conviction that holds us together as Christians is that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ offers us abundant life. That is our conviction!
Opinions! So much of everything else is opinion. To even suppose that all Christians share the same opinions about political or religious issues is ludicrous.
“Baptists who pray together do not necessarily vote together.” And, of course, that also goes for Methodists, Presbyterians and all other faith bodies as well.
So as the balloting begins or continues, let us remember that Christians hold wide and various opinions on issues, candidates and the election. Some Christians even say that if you don’t support this party, candidate, or position you are not Christian.
Point? Christianity is a conviction we live, not so much opinions that we hold.
Next, Christianity is about our faithfulness, not questioning the faithfulness of others!
Adam Hamilton, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas, gives us a helpful illustration here. He says that if someone you loved deeply was suffering from a brain tumor, would you choose a doctor based primarily upon his or her faith or would you look for someone who had extraordinary skills and experience working with patients suffering from the particular form of cancer?
“For me,” Hamilton says, “I’m going with the doctor who is an expert in dealing with the particular type of cancer my loved one had.” But then he says, “I would love for that doctor to also be a Christian — one who would pray for my loved one and who would seek to be used by God to heal others. Either way, I would pray for that doctor.”
It is so tempting to ask whether this or that candidate is Christian or godly enough. And that is an important question. But our main responsibility, as people of faith, is not so much to ask that question as to make genuinely sure that we are Christian when we cast our ballot.
Our Christian experience should impact our ballot.
As you know, these are serious times and every person of faith needs to be aware of the candidates and their positions on the issues that will affect the good of our nation — the good of the whole of our nation. God calls us and America needs us. God calls us to be Christian in rising above partisanship, voting our convictions, praying for our nation and leaders and responding faithfully to the seriousness of our day.
“… And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
The Rev. Hal Brady is an ordained United Methodist minister and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries, based in Atlanta. You can watch him preach every week on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters TV channel Thursdays at 8 p.m.