We are in a political year. This means that certain high profile persons will be striving to become their party's candidate, and then these candidates will be striving for power against the other party's candidates for political office. The goal of every election, every debate, as well as every war is basically the same. It is to answer the question, "Who will rule?" Now this may at first sound cynical, but it isn't necessarily so. Someone can want to rule because he truly believes that his skills and policies will result in the improvement of his country and that the citizens will be better off with his administration than with that of his opponent. Political campaigning is the art of getting other people to agree with you so that you can occupy the position of power. As such it can bring out the best and the worst among us. Often the art of politics is reduced to denigrating the other candidate and using unfair and manipulative tactics to ruin their name.
Politics can be a nasty business especially when the interests of a few are promoted at the expense of the many. Too often politicians misuse the process and abuse their positions to pad their own nest and reward their supporters with sweetheart deals, kickbacks, and inside information to give their relatives and friends an unfair advantage in the quest for wealth. Another great evil is the concept that there are some who are born or determined to be a "ruling class" over others. They view the masses as fools to be fooled and dupes to be duped. They will say what the voters want to hear and set their sails to catch the wind of popular opinion, knowing that once elected, they can pursue their agenda, that if they had revealed it up front, they never would have been elected. They are elitists.
There are, however, many good public servants and statesmen who disdain such practices and have good ethics. These will be up front and honest about what they believe and what they intend to do. They will not tell one crowd one thing and then tell another crowd another thing. They will be the same in office as they were on the campaign trail. They will avoid nepotism, cronyism, and all other forms of corruption. Our country has been blessed with such men and women. May their kind increase! Character does, indeed, matter.
Jesus warned us about being influenced by the secular political mentality. In Mark 10, two of His disciples (James and John) came to Jesus to ask if they could sit one on one side and one on the other side of His throne when He set up His kingdom. This brazen move to acquire prominence was not well received by the other disciples! We find these men from time to time arguing over who should be the greatest. They were already striving to pick their titles and positions in the upcoming political setup.
The Lord responded thusly, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus was giving them a new and better attitude. He was also using Himself as an example. Truly Jesus did not forsake his title as Lord. He did not abdicate his position as the only begotten Son of God. He did not stop being THE authority in their lives but he did exemplify divine servanthood. His power was never forced on anyone. He did not impose laws except the laws of love, and these are given never taken. He did not try to destroy anyone else or topple anyone else from power. He simply held to a high standard of selfless love and service to others. His disciples were to follow His lead.
We are to be political without being selfish. We are to influence others without being manipulative. We are to provide opportunities for others to display their best attributes, for their own benefit, not for our own profit, power, or pride. We are to serve, not be served. We are to give, not take. We are to think, act, live, and even die for the welfare of others. Politics, as practiced in the secular realm, is not to be found in the church. We are not to "strive" but "be gentle". In the body of Christ, we are to recognize the gifts that God gives to each of us and lovingly work together for the conversion of the lost, the edification of the saints, and the glory of our Savior! The Holy Spirit guides us in this wonderful harmony and serves as a witness to the world that Christ is real and makes a difference in people's lives.
"I'm convinced more than ever that man finds liberation only when he binds himself to God and commits himself to his fellow man." Ronald Reagan
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in like you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver
"I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself." Aldous Leonard Huxley
"Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it." Colin Powell