Thanking God For Those Elected
Tuesday - November 3rd
Day 3: Attitude of Gratitude
Scripture to Read Today: 1 Timothy 2:1-6
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
Well, the day has arrived. Some have looked forward to it with the eager anticipation of a child getting ready to attend a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Others have fretted, worried, and dreaded this day. No one alive in the United States (maybe in the developed world) could have missed what Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is in our nation. It is election day.
This is not just any election day. It is "the most important election in our lifetime." It is the day that voters choose between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The volume of political noise reached a deafening level in the last few weeks. Both the left and the right have declared this the battle for our nation's soul. Both have defined the outcome in terms of the destruction of our country. If they win, they will save the republic. If the other side wins, the America we once knew will be gone forever. It will have fallen off the cliff with no hope of return.
As a follower of Christ approaching his mid-fifties, I have experienced the disappointment of seeing local, state, or national candidates for whom I voted lose. Some have lost big time! As a young pastor, one particular election caused me to panic, complain, and become deeply discouraged by the outcome. Someone I determined would fight against all the values of Christ, and His Kingdom got elected. I was angry, frustrated, and developed a terrible attitude toward this new government leader.
A Christian friend rebuked me for the unChristlike spirit I had determined to carry until "that guy" got voted out in the next election. They read 1 Timothy 2:1-6 to me. They focused on the first two verses of that passage. "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
"OK, what's your point?" I snapped back at the hearing of those verses being read by my friend. "What are you trying to tell me?"
My friend simply said, "Don't wait for that person to be voted out. Do what God tells you to do. Pray for that person daily between now and the next election a few years from now." That did not sit well with me. But, I begrudgingly agreed. "OK, I will pray for them." My friend then pointed out that God commands me to express thankfulness for that leader (for whom I did not vote). To pray for them was one thing (I could pray for their failure and demise). To thank God for them was a whole other thing. A thing I did not want to do.
My Christian friend convinced me to commit to thanking God for the elected official I detested. I said I would do it for 30 days. And I did. Day after day, I expressed to God gratitude for the man's willingness to serve in public office. It was hard to think of anything else for which I could be thankful.
To my surprise, something changed. My concern about the official's positions that seemed diametrically opposed to God and His Word did not go away. What changed was my heart, perspective, and attitude. I started to see this person as a human being made in the same image of God in which I was made. Christ had suffered the agony of the cross for him - just as much as He had for me.
I noticed the man's family. I saw areas where he really did support values rooted in God's Word. When a close relative of the leader died, I found my heart moved for him as the media reported his loss. God began to give me His eyes for the elected official. Where there was hate, love took root. When we see someone as God sees them, we cannot help but love them. After all, we are Christ's followers seeking to live and love like Jesus.
If today a candidate at some level gets elected that you never wanted to see in office, start to thank God daily for them as Christ commands us in 1 Timothy 2. Even if you don't want to, it is the command of God for you. Pray for that leader. Thank God for that leader. Do it daily. Watch what God does to your heart.
In a month when we focus on an attitude of gratitude, and in a year of such a divisive election, we need to do what God says. And we need to do it whether we feel like it or not. Let us thank God for those who lead our community, our state, and our nation. If someone gets elected at any level and you voted passionately against them, obey God. Pray for, and thank God for, them.
It does not mean you change your values or views about the issues over which you disagree with that elected leader. It doesn't mean you vote for them in the next election. It means you obey God and let God make the appropriate changes - even in your heart.
As we head into this election day, be prepared to thank God for those who get elected - whether you voted for them or not!