I recently had the opportunity to talk to a man running for office. It wasn’t for Senate, or a mayor, or anything most people would consider very important. He was running for a local city board. This man’s credentials could have earned him a spot in a more influential or flashy position. For that matter, he already had a pretty successful career and a good reputation. As far as I could tell, he didn’t benefit from winning this election at all.
During our conversation, this man said something that caught me off guard. He said he believed it was the duty of every Christian man to run for a political office at some point in his life.
I was somewhat surprised at this. I had believed it was good for us to have wise Christian leaders in our government, but I had never seen such active participation as a responsibility. What this man said caused me to think.
Living in America, we have one of the most enviable positions on the face of the planet, ever. Most of us take this for granted, but our system of government is not only rare in history books, it’s rare in modern atlases. In America, it is our right to govern ourselves. Most people in the world, and throughout history, would not even understand this concept if we explained it to them. Mankind has been forced to acclimate to tyranny in one form or another since governments began. Yet American voices may be heard every election season, and here they actually mean something.
As Christians, it is our duty to do our best to imitate and represent Christ. As Americans, we have the right to participate in the political arena. As Christian Americans, we have the right to actively represent Christ and our neighbors in that same arena. I don’t know if this means every Christian is duty-bound to run for office at some point, but I do believe that it means we should participate. We seldom get such an opportunity to represent Him to the world as we do when we are helping to choose our leaders.
What do I plan to do about this? First, I’m going to make a conscious effort to better keep up with current political events. In order to wisely participate, I must know what’s going on. And second, while I’m not in a position to run for any office, I can help value-driven candidates win this upcoming election- and that is what I plan to do. For me, that means voting, and helping with Student Action Teams. Third, I personally have decided to prepare myself mentally and spiritually to someday represent Christ in some level of our government, even if it’s just a local board. And fourth, I have decided to pray for our government and leaders. I often ignore the advice of Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, when he says that we are to pray for “kings and all that are in high positions.”
You might not believe it is your duty to run for office. But as a Christian living in America, you are faced with opportunities persecuted Christians all over the world would envy. What are you going to do about that?
By Joe Cheatwood