Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What's in it for..... others!!!!

Its election time. Politicians are out trying to get as many votes as they can on elation night. The trouble is, people have so many different ways of deciding who to vote for. Some people vote the same way every time, or just vote for the party they parent's voted for. Or against the parent there parent's voted for. Others take hours poring over each parties manifesto and work out who to vote for that way.

As the Telstra Clear ad says, we have become a society where people are asking the question “what’s in it for me?” Or maybe we have always been so. Whatever way it is, that seems to be the way many people approach deciding the way they vote in elections. They vote for the party which will offer them a few extra dollars a week in tax cuts. Or so they will get a student allowance when they study. Or for whatever the election bribe happens to be that year. They make their vote on the based on what’s best for them.
But is this the best way of doing it, voting purely out of self interest? I don’t believe it is. I believe that as Christian, it is my duty to look out for the needs of others. The Bible is clear on this.

Mark 12:31 the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Romans 13:9 the commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Isaiah 1:16- 17 Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong,
 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Psalm 146:7-9 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Bible is clear: we are to love others and stand up for the disadvantage, the poor and the sick. This is how we are called to live our whole lives. And this is also how we are called to vote. Some Christians seem to have the idea that the government (or state) should not have to look after theses people because ‘The Church” should be doing it. But the truth is we do this with our votes, as much as we can thought organised church activities. This is the second of the two great commandments, and should be the focus of our lives, including the way we vote.

We need to stop think about just ourselves when it came to election time, and think about the bigger picture of what God is doing. God is about love, justice and mercy. God is about bringing people to him. For too many Christian, so called “family values” is what defines “Christian politics.” Issues such as the civil union bill, anti smacking law, prostitution and abortion are seen as the most important. But these are not the issues on the top of the agenda of Jesus. In fact Jesus said that because of his coming families will be divided (Luke 12 51-53). Now, I’m not saying that these issues are not important, but that we have our priorities wrong. The issues have because more important than the people. Winning the battle has become more important than loving our neighbor. Jesus was about the poor, the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful those who moron, those who hunger for righteousness. And so should we. Whatever we believe is the best way to achieve this; this should be our goal as the people of God.
Jesus spoke this parable when he was on earth.

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46)

Which group are we going to be in? This parable applies to the way we vote as much as it applies to the rest of our lives.
Ironically, it is the Green Party, the party which many Christians think of as the most ungodly party which in this election complain seems to be thinking closes to this. They may have the wrong starting point, the planet rather than people, but there is in their campaign what I’m talking about. Vote for me- the poor. Vote for me- those who morn. Vote for me- the peacemakers.
So when you vote, don’t just think about the few extra dollars tax you might get, or the student allowance you might get. Think about the mother struggling to raise a family of five on her own because her husband as left her or is dead. Think of the kids who go to school hungry because there family can’t afford to feed them. And also think about the millions of people around the world who live in poverty- our next government can chose to support them too- or not.

Don’t think “what’s in it for me” but “what’s in it for others”. That’s how Jesus would vote, and it should be how you should vote all if you follow him.

1 comment:

tommo39 said...

Reminds me of a conversation I had at a foodcourt before some fireworks yesterday. Very wise post Nathan. You said exactly what needed to be said and I'm glad that you've filled in all the gaps where I wasn't sure exactly how to think.