As our nation made history by swearing in the first African American President, I couldn’t help but think about what the next four years would entail. While this is a historic time, it is also one that brings about hope for some and apprehension for others. The presidential election has been probably the most partisan and hotly debated period I can recall in my lifetime. Everywhere, people took sides, debated issues, analyzed policies, and drew lines. I witnessed friendships suffer, families ostracize their own, and churches and pastors declare allegiances.
While those actions can be condoned or supported, I believe the impression that most resonated with me the most was the amount of passion I saw come from our generation, pouring out to support a particular candidate. From Twitter, to blogs, to Facebook statuses, I saw people our age come out to openly support and volunteer countless hours for the sake of a campaign. It amazed me the amount of pure raw passion they felt about their candidate.
Not just a candidate, but the issues for which their candidate stood. They were learned, educated, and informed about the policies of their candidate. They could defend their platforms. They could and, for the most part, did have intelligent conversations about the policies his or her candidate would support or enact if he or she was to come to power. They didn’t take someone else’s advice or direction. They didn’t vote primarily along party lines. They chose for themselves. I heard cries of environmental concerns, the importance of the sanctity of life of the unborn, women’s rights, the support or abhorrence for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were passionate and committed to making their voices heard so their view may be supported.
All that has been over for a while and a new regime is in place. So, now what?
What is our role?
What does this mean for us, as Christians and as young adults?
It means all the fire and passion we felt trying to get our candidate elected can and should now be channeled for good. Presidents are leaders. All leaders have a team under them that makes them great or leads to their demise. Our choice is this: join the team and help make our world a better place, filled with Jesus’ influence, or sit on the sidelines. Show people there is a God who loves them and wants to be involved in their life or retreat to our homes and churches, only promising to pray for our leader.
That is our choice. While I always place a great deal of influence on conversations with God, I also realize He is expecting us to do something. Volunteer. Give of your time. Give of your gifts. And yes, give of your money. That means above and beyond your local gathering of believers. Obviously, first and foremost your volunteer efforts and monetary support should be designated to the local body you choose to worship with. If you aren’t doing that, you should begin there. But in Jesus’ day, He didn’t retreat to the temple hoping to influence from within the walls of His sanctuary. No, He entered the ugly world. The world with the sick and the sinful and the messy masses of people. He broke bread with them, invested in them, and made relationships that touched and changed people’s lives.
One of the biggest convictions I have felt is the simple fact of how very blessed I am. In light of the bad economy, a mortgage crisis, turmoil in the Middle East, and poverty and famine in third-world countries, I am constantly amazed that I am privileged to live in a country that is free. Free to go to work each day and worship the God my soul craves for. Free to voice my concerns or support over a law or a policy. Free to disagree or agree openly with others around me. This realization has given me more of a sense of urgency to become more involved in cultural and society crisis—not just around the world, but all around me. Jesus called us, His sheep, to be involved. To clothe and care for the single moms, the orphans, the hungry, and the destitute.
As His followers, we are also called to do the dirty work. It isn’t easy. It takes effort. It takes investment in people. It can be time consuming and inconvenient. But it can also be the most rewarding and fulfilling thing you can do. As followers of Christ, we are not allowed to stand idly by and leave the government and the world’s leaders to their own devices. If we are truly concerned about the issues we so vehemently debated during the election, it is now our chance to do something about it.
Let me give an example. I heard many Christians chose their candidate over one huge issue—abortion. While the right-to-life issue is a top priority for me as well, I have to wonder, what if all the Christians who were so concerned about unborn children stepped up to foster or adopt a child or care for an unwed mother? Would this still be such an issue? Same goes for any hot-button issue. Is it really about the need of the issue, or is it just about winning a debate? If we as Christ followers left our pews and our life groups and our “fellowship times” and really entered the real world, what could we accomplish? If instead of eating out with our friends once a week we gave that money to a non-profit we believed was making a difference? If we looked past “those people” who are less fortunate than us to see a child of God that He loves and help them in their time of need, who could we help? I think we could change the world. At the beginning of a new phase, let’s commit to being involved. Let’s commit to making a difference.
Either join the team or stay in your comfort zone. The choice is yours. It’s time to start using that passion for something that makes a real difference.